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You’ve Got to Get Started

Intro by Skip Cohen

Wandering through the archives of Successful-Photographer this post hit home. It’s so relevant to what separates great artists from those still struggling. There are two key topics that hit me the hardest.

First, so many struggling artists simply never get started. They have great ideas, but success isn’t built on intentions – but upon action. “They don’t begin,” says it all. They’re caught in “baggage claim” and just like that last flight you were on, they stand and watch bag after bag circle the conveyor – not sure which one to claim.

Second, part of what causes the baggage claim mentality is boredom and burnout. I talk with artists every day who have become so over-focused on the success of their business that they’ve lost the passion for the craft, and that’s where special projects play such a significant role.

No matter what your photographic specialty might be, special projects let you stretch your creative muscles. They challenge you to push yourself rather than shooting for a client. You’re the only customer who matters when it comes to a special project.

You got into photography because you were passionate about the craft; working with people and expanding your skill set to capture great images. Well, special projects help you remember and stay in tune with why you became a photographer in the first place!

W. Clement Stone added to the quote by Napoleon Hill to add in the information that essentially is Newton’s Law of Motion, and I believe, affects each of us every day. If we are not aware of the forces of our mind and nature we suffer the consequences.


After Napoleon Hill’s book Think and Grow Rich he teamed up with W. Clement Stone to write Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude and added these words to the well-known phrase, “That’s why many fail – they don’t get started – they don’t go. They don’t overcome inertia… They don’t begin.”

And there is the crux of the problem leading to success. They don’t get started. If you have an idea, act upon it. Get going. Apply Newton’s Law in Physics. Newton’s first law of motion is, “An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.” We human beings are the same way. Once we start on a project it is fairly easy to keep going. Getting started can be the hard part, excuses abound.

Get in motion.

If you have trouble with that, get Hill’s Think and Grow Rich and read a chapter a night. Put the book up for a month and then read a chapter a night with a highlighter and note the passages that will help you. Put the book up for a month. Repeat with different colored highlighter passages you didn’t note before but for which you are now ready. Now the book is ready to be reviewed on a regular basis and can be gone through in a very short period of time. We need reminders when we get off track and I’ve found this to be very handy (matter of fact, it’s time to break out my well-worn copy…where did I put that??)

You ask, “Bob what does all this have to do with photography??” Personal photography projects are one of the best ways to refresh you. To change your business in the direction you want to go. But we often don’t get started on them because we “don’t have time.” I disagree and I think you’ll find the motivation you need following some of the ideas above.

Good luck!