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Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

Too Much - Part II

In my last post I wrote about the proliferation of software, imaging modalities/techniques, and marketing methods which are now available and the fact that, while they offer innumerable opportunities that we never had before, they also can draw significant amounts of time away from actually working on trying to perfect the art itself.

This has become even more apparent to me as I undertake the project of designing and constructing my own website. I clearly see the large amount of time that is taking. One of my problems has been that I have found that I was interested by and wanted to participate in everything contained in the long laundry list I wrote about in my last post. But, the fact is that you really can't do all these things....at least not well and not if you also have a 'day job'. So it has become apparent to me that one has to pick and choose. I probably am still trying to do too much, but have decided that in order to try to excel at some things others must go.

So how does one approach all this? Well, I am sure there is no universal answer to that question since, as artists, we all have different interests, aptitudes, and abilities. While one photographer might be able to write HTML and use CSS in their sleep, another might find that to be a big yawn and not have the desire to learn it at all. The same goes for learning the other software I mentioned in the list.

I can, however, talk about how I approached the issue and what conclusions I came to. These conclusions, of course, only apply to me....but perhaps the thought process might be useful to others.

I started by asking myself several types of questions:

What do I like doing?
What would I like to learn to do/use?
What items from the list are likely to be most useful in developing an audience?
What have I done already that seems to be generating some success?
What have I done already that does not seem to be generating much interest or success?
When looking at the potential benefits of each item on the list, how much time is going to have to be invested to reap those benefits?
Which items, when I consider them, get me excited and interested? Which don't?

In a perfect world we would learn to excel at all the listed items, but, as we know, the world is far from perfect.

So how did I approach the list? First, just scanning the list, it was easy to pick out two items that I could easily give up. Flickr and Twitter. I know that many people have successfully used these sites to increase their audience, but they have seemed far less fruitful for me. Flickr can be quite time consuming and, frankly, there seems to be far too much back scratching and quid pro quo to get images seen....and the comments tend to be one liners that I do not really find all that helpful. The whole interface with awards etc also seems quite 'unprofessional' to me. I'm not saying there aren't good photographs or photographers there. Just the opposite, there is plenty of fantastic work. It just doesn't seem to me like the forum to accomplish my goals or present my work. I won't delete my account but will not actively use it. Time saved.

Same with Twitter. My 'tweets' seem to attract mostly other photographers and people trying to sell things. I totally enjoy talking to other photographers, but I'm not sure I love talking to them in 140 character bites! It's fun, but I just don't think it is all that worthwhile in that it doesn't seem to be doing for me what I was hoping. Thus, it is not an efficient use of my time. Again, I won't delete my account but simply will not direct new efforts to it.

So, as far as the Social Networking category goes, I will stick with blogging and Facebook. Come this mid January, I will have been writing this blog for 4 years. I enjoy it and it has been a longstanding effort which I want to continue! My Facebook Fan Page is a newer endeaver and is something that is also fun to do. In the few months I have been doing it there are now 119 folks who have 'liked' and follow the page and there also tends to be more comments there than here. So it seems worth the effort to continue!

I am going to continue my effort at coding a new website. Though that requires a heavy time commitment, I also think the 'payoff' of delivering my work to the world in a manner that I want is a big reward that merits the time spent.

Here is a real biggie that I have decided not to undertake....at least not for some time. Video and sound production. I know it's hot, but, frankly, it just isn't something that gets me particularly excited. I am intrigued by the ability of the still image to elicit an emotional response far more than the ability of video to do so. I am also a perfectionist and know that to learn how to do video production in a manner that I would be satisfied with would likely take up a huge amount of time (and ? money). So I am simply not going to pursue it.

One thing I would like to do is to try printing on canvas. It is easy for me to justify putting this off until the spring as it is cold here in the winter and I would want to coat the printed canvas outdoors (because of the chemical smell of the coating).

I would be interested to hear how other people have approached these issues and what conclusions they have come to.