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I know for myself, making photographs, writing, and doing creative work always requires me to overcome resistance.

What is inertia?

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Before we talk about resistance, let us research inertia. Below are some notes that I pulled from Wikipedia:

  • Inertia is the resistance of any physical object to any change in its state of motion; this includes changes to its speed, direction, or state of rest.
  • Inertia comes from the Latin word: ‘iners‘ — meaning idle, sluggish.
  • Inertia is a power of resisting endeavors of outside forces; it is us wanting to preserve our present state.
  • Inertia also means ‘amount of resistance to change.’
  • Furthermore, when an object is in motion, it will continue to move that that speed, until some outside force causes its speed or direction to change.

How can we overcome resistance, and use inertia to our benefit in our photography and life?

1. Get the ball rolling

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In my creative work; I want to overcome all sorts of ‘resistance.’ But the easy thing is that once you get the ball rolling, it will continue rolling.

Also recall the saying from Publilius Syrus:

The rolling stone gathers no moss.

The secret is to start our ball rolling. To give it that initial push.

For me, to overcome resistance in writing, I open up a new page in my WordPress blog, and just start typing. And when I finish writing a paragraph or two, I hit ‘publish.’ This doesn’t post a new blog post directly to the front page of my blog, but it exists on my website — somewhere in the digital ether.

Hitting the publish button helps me overcome any resistance, hesitation, or fear in my writing.

Similarly, physical fitness is hard. The easiest way to overcome resistance: just get on the ground and try to do one push up. Then you will eventually do more than one. Make that a practice– keep the ball rolling.

In your photography, the biggest resistance I’ve found is to just have your camera in your hand, and ready to make a photograph. An easy way to overcome resistance in photography is to just start clicking the shutter. To use your smartphone to take bad photos. It doesn’t matter what you photograph. You just need to overcome that initial resistance.

As an exercise, if you have photographer’s block, take out your smartphone and take 100 really bad photos today. That will help rejuvenate your trigger-finger, and overcome any resistance. And of course, you don’t need to share those photos.

2. Stay in motion

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Once you’ve overcome that initial resistance; you need to keep the ball rolling.

That means, don’t miss a day to make photographs. Make photos everyday — whether with your normal camera, your smartphone, or (maybe one day) your Google Contact lenses.

I know for myself, if I really want to keep my creative juices flowing– I need to write each day. This is what keeps me moving forward. Because once I’m in the habit of writing, it is easy to get started. But if I go a few days or a week or two without writing, I feel rusty. But when my gears are well-lubricated, and I have the practice of daily writing, the words flow from my fingers like butter.

The same in your photography — stay in motion. Photograph anything that interests you. I often think that focusing photography projects can be a deterrent; because you become trapped in only one subject matter. Focus on making personal photographs.

Realize the whole world is your canvas. Your camera is your paint brush. You can paint whatever you want, whenever you want, however you want. Make art and photographs that please you. You don’t need to share all your photos either.

3. Speed it up

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If your ball is in motion, don’t stay at the same speed or velocity. Speed it up.

If you were a cheetah, it would be pretty boring to run or sprint at the same pace your entire life. I think it is much more fun to increase your pace, and see how fast you can go.

So I no longer believe in limits. I try to be like Horace, and ‘hurl the discus out of bounds.’ When I go to the gym, I try to constantly push my ‘1 rep max’ for my deadlift (the maximum I can lift). When it comes to writing, I always try to push forward, and innovate with new ideas. When it comes to photography, I try to find inspiration from the past masters, and try to supersede them. I create against the past.

Keep upgrading the horsepower in your car. Don’t settle. Add a turbocharger, increase the width of the piping of your muffler, reduce superfluous weight, add a carbon fiber hood, and strive towards blissful simplicity.

Conclusion

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Don’t over-think it. Just do it. Now.

Write a shitty sentence. Take a shitty photo. Take the first step towards your dreams.

If you’re a rock climber, you don’t want to look at the summit. You just need to reach out, grab the next rock, and pull yourself up.

Inertia and the forces of gravity are fighting against you. But you need to be strong, and overcome external forces– and most importantly, you need to overcome yourself.

Be strong,
Eric

Start now

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