Dec 16th

2009

Learning

DarHanu-WindowChild

A short post this morning as I’m swimming (drowning?) in the business and task-management end of things. Consider the brevity a chance to catch up on other reading :-)

My learning curve feels endless and steep these days. New software, new business models, new cameras, shooting film and remembering what it’s like to get a bunch of crap back from the lab. I spent yesterday morning at my lawyers signing final incorporation documents and spent this evening with my accountant trying to not be a knucklehead about all the changes that incorporation means. It just doesn’t end and I feel like I’m drowning in it. But oddly it’s energized me. I’m busy but I’m reading, playing, and learning in the small gaps my schedule allows me.

I am also up to my neck in Vision & Voice, and writing the draft of Volume II of The Inspired Eye. But in all the stuff I’ve been thinking and writing about re. the creative process, I should add this: learn something new. When the rut starts feeling too deep, or the inspiration seems more like boredom, learn something new – anything, just make it new. If all you have is 20 minutes, sit down with Lightroom and try duplicating an effect you saw earlier today, or learn one of the plug-ins you haven’t had time to sit down and figure out. Don’t have time to learn? Then play. Just mess around with it. You’ll be surprised how well we learn when we’re actively trying to avoid learning and are just playing. Find 10 minute blocks to play.

Whatever you do, one thing is sure either as a creative, a business person, or a creative business person – to sit still is to stagnate, to not move forward is to move backwards, and the antidote to both is simply to learn something new daily. Make it intentional, carve out the time somehow, but learn.

Comments (18)
  1. December 16, 2009 at 3:06 am

    Here’s a suggestion for anyone who’s so busy s/he feels there aren’t enough hours in the day: learn about time management. There are books on the topic; investing the time to learn it now will pay dividends for the rest of your life.

  2. December 16, 2009 at 4:06 am

    It seems I’m hearing and reading a lot about projects, assignments, schedules, and learning. I also just read The War of Art yesterday. It was an easy read but definitely one I will need to read again. Good luck on your new adventures.

  3. December 16, 2009 at 6:10 am

    Great advice and the right attitude. Thank you for the encouragement.

  4. JVL

    December 16, 2009 at 7:46 am

    The way this is written the saying “Famous last words” come to mind…

  5. JonathanF

    December 16, 2009 at 8:44 am

    Good call Ron. I’ve heard that Getting Things Done is a good one for time management–I’ve just read the wikipedia entry on it and found it enormously helpful. Of course, good time management skills can help you get lots of stuff done, but you want to make sure that you’re getting the right stuff done. So make sure that you regularly take time to figure out what the right stuff is.

    Another book that I came across this year was “Brain Rules” from John Medina, a developmental molecular biologist who specializes in brain research. He has summarized all the research that he has come across into 12 “brain rules”. It has a bit of techie info in it, but it is eminently practical too, even for creative types. Highly recommended!

  6. December 16, 2009 at 8:51 am

    David, got some REALLY bad news for you. That learning curve, once you add another 20 years to your life, turns into a shear cliff!

  7. December 16, 2009 at 9:35 am

    David, Thanks for keeping it short today. I had lots to get done.

  8. robert v

    December 16, 2009 at 10:06 am

    thanks for the blog and book vision mongers, almost finished. i come here to learn the new, thanks

    rob

  9. anita

    December 16, 2009 at 10:31 am

    I like that picture of the small boy, David.

    You know, I enjoy learning and I pretty much learn something new every day, but I am sitting here trying to remember the last time I “played.” Of course I play upon request with our children, but if I were to “play” what would that even look like? How sad. …I’m going to need to read a book to learn how to play again. (…kidding).

    I may need to make that a New Years’ resolution – learn to play. I think, though, that if I don’t make time for it, if I wait until I can fit it in, it will never happen. Is there anything wrong with having a discipline to create and/or play? Would taking the spontaneity out of it somehow take the creativity out too?

  10. Gerrard Williams

    December 16, 2009 at 11:32 am

    I’m so glad that others find time for learning is difficult there are days when the curve is vertical. Also pleased to here that otheres still have the bad roll come back from the developers (thought it was just me).

  11. December 16, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    What was the catalyst for incorporating? I am currently debating doing so. Love the blog and just finished Within the Frame

  12. David

    December 16, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    Hi Jesse – It’s pretty simple for me. Now, bear in mind that I am a Canadian, so things will be a little different in the US, but only in the details, not the broad strokes. An incorporation is taxed much differently than an individual or non-incorporated entity. Basically it moves me from paying up to 30% or more, to paying about 13%. There are some benefits regarding liabilities, but it boils down to my accountant telling me I needed to do it, and making his case pretty clearly.

  13. Art

    December 16, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    Ever wonder when life became an Olympic event?

    Somewhere along the way I too have forgotten how to play.

    I used to play with my Lego bricks for hours. Now when I play with them with my kids I have trouble building anything other walls and ceilings!

    Have to change that…

  14. December 16, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    Have you run as sole proprietorship to date? Has that posed any problems?

  15. David

    December 16, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    @Brad – I have, and no. Incorporation only usually makes sense, as far as I understand it, when you hit a certain level of income. It’s not huge, but I’ve been conspicuously under that number for a long time :-)

  16. December 17, 2009 at 3:02 am

    Here in the US, incorporation is often done just to minimize liability (want to guess which country has the most lawyers per capita?). For example…ever seen the letters LLC after someone’s name (frequently a lawyer’s name)? Stands for Limited Liability Corporation. Tax laws vary, of course, with a) the country, and b) the type of incorporation . Back in the USofA, for another example… In a SubChapter S corporation, income passes thru to the owner and is taxed as individual income. Best advice: talk first to an accountant, then to a lawyer. And yes, the USofA has the highest ratio of lawyers to citizens of any country in the world: 1 of them for every 265 of us. (Brazil is second. Go figure.) One other thing: the rules have a way of changing every year (because, well, you know, lawyers write the rules).

  17. December 17, 2009 at 3:08 am

    Okay, there is one other important thing… If you incorporate and then set yourself up as an employee of that corporation, you’re still going to be taxed at the same rates for that income. Any corporate income that remains in the Company coffers will be taxed at the lower rate. But still, talk to an accountant first.

  18. December 17, 2009 at 3:17 am

    Okay, one last post and then I promise to stop… There are 1,143,358 lawyers in the US. This is relevant to nothing on David’s blog except to say… If your photography career doesn’t work out, you could always practice law. Just one more reason to work really, really hard at your photography business, like David says.