False Starts

The Lamott chapter on false starts particularly spoke to me. I thought it was very true that people who are in a creative field, such as writing or photography, try and plan out everything in advance, and think they know exactly where their vision and story is going. It’s good to be prepared and do some brainstorming before they make the first stab at their project, but limiting themselves to their initial idea can blind them to other possibilities that can make the story more complex or finished. The coverage can turn into a falsity if the photographer tries to make a story something it’s not, just because it fits their framework. The photos in this type of situation usually end up looking forced and not genuine. Photojournalism is all about showing the truth, so this defeats the purpose. Opening your eyes up to every possibility can allow you to see some cool details you may have ignored before.

Another thing I really appreciated in this chapter was when she said it’s important to get to know your characters “beyond all the things they aren’t.” She said we basically have to plop down and spend time with our subjects, get to know them inside and out. Their quirks and beliefs, their habits, all of these things are a part of their humanity, and including them will only enhance the storytelling.

I really related to the chapter “How Do You Know When You’re Done?” Lamott very simply states, “You just do.” Creative people are often their hardest critics, and sometimes you’ll never be completely happy with how your story or essay turns out, but there comes a point when you just have to say there’s nothing more to do. I did my best with what was there. The mantra, “You just do”, also applies to when you know you need more. There’s just this itching feeling at the back of your brain saying, “but you need something else!” Follow that feeling until you know what it is you need. If it’s attainable, go for it! Or you’ll never forgive yourself.


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