Pondering effective practices and self-imposed obstacles.
“It’s better to be fast and good, than slow and perfect”
Why didn’t someone tell me this when I was young? I spent my first 20 years of existence trying to get everything perfect. But this minute distillation of wisdom only perculated in my direction long after I’d grown. I see the logic and advantages of this approach now, obviously there are disadvantages too, but in many situations they are out-weighed. Too late for me though, I can’t change the habits of over two and a half decades, no doubt the derivatives of a slight tendency towards OCD, extreme perfectionism as it were, and a finely honed expertise in procrastination.
I’m not a defeatist – I am constantly trying to be faster, and happy with good – but the quality/quantity arguement rears its damn head. Photography is different, in that I’m always aiming for quality, but I like to click lots.
This week brought a form of light balm to my pains; Two bloggers that I read regularly, by complete coincidence, both spoke about ‘pulling posts’ and then later re-publishing them. Admittedly they are both skilful writers and photographers, and fast with it, so maybe they have more artistic concerns, but can I smell my same dilemma in the air?
I wrote a travel piece a while back, chose the photo’s, changed it a few times, and then put off actually publishing for so long that when I remembered I had already written it, I couldn’t place which site I’d been working on. I will be publishing it… soon.
Travel gets in the way too. Much as cleaning your room is a great distraction for exam revision, travel is a great distraction for – everything.
A typical day from the road;
Remember how many things I’d like to get done,
Decide to eat first,
Don’t rush, too many new variables to go fast,
Chat to a new acquaintance (traveller, hostel staff, host, shopkeeper),
Brain begins to wander, taken off-track by a simple conversation,
Begin to do something productive,
Stop too soon, to see something local and take photo’s – ‘well I’m not here long and it’s still early’
Sometimes mooch slowly, other times rush maniacally, lose 2 hours or more,
Return to base and settle down to do more work,
Get a little done, but streams of interruptions are more prevalent later in the day (again, various people),
Time to eat again, maybe go out with others, maybe sit with my host, or extended family,
Sit and chat and enjoy the aftermath of good food, respectfully not rushing away as soon as I’m done,
Intend to go back to work again, to get at least one thing finished,
Just book an onward ticket or next accomodation firstly,
Invitations to relax or go out accepted, to talk with interesting people and enjoy the ambience (‘i’m not here long’),
Resolve to not stay out late, start early and do lots tomorrow,
Have the best times! Sometimes relaxed, sometimes energetic.
Go to bed trying to remember what to do first tomorrow,
The days with actual travel involved? Forget about it.
I’m not complaining, just postulating. Anyway, I’m planning a stationary period back in the UK after the next month, and looking forward to it despite my long list of complaints about the place. I’ve ended up ‘travelling’ and the plan was more to temporarily relocate for a few months at a time. It takes a few weeks to settle in and create a workable routine, and to clear a path through new distractions so you can at least glimpse the possibility of productivity across the room. 8 countries in the last two months was not the intention. It goes against my own beliefs that if you skip through places, you don’t have the really worthwhile experiences. It’s just big fat tourism, a dirty word.
Obviously I love it to bits, the new places, the new people – my camera sees a lot of action. But I’m not too young, as I said. I’m weighed on by my own need to achieve something worthwhile, I can’t bring myself to throw my future to the wind and be free in the moment.
The plan is to be running a business first, and living a ‘wanderful’ existence second. That’s what my About page says, sort of. As much as travel blogging can be a business, its a slow process of receiving benefits in kind and then using them to elevate your profile, and continuing the momentum until you are large enough to warrant payment. It also doesn’t require being on the road much, and you would be more successful mastering the basics of internet marketing than endlessly accumulating new material.
Here’s the two bloggers and blog posts mentioned, I always enjoy their stuff;
Actually, neither of them have the same problem as me at all, but it was still refreshing to know I’m not the only person that gets caught up with indecision. I just frustrate myself. Most of my favourite writers were prolific in their art (Isaac Asimov, or David Foster-Wallace) but if I try to emulate their results, I get gloop. So, baby steps, and distractions in abundance.
Horrible, riveting distractions. 🙂