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Do you get it?

My free January newsletter Insights is out!

This issue features ways to Plan Your Creative Success.

Making Bucket Lists, Developing Personal Projects, Selecting Your Top Images are just a few of the highlights.

It’s packed with useful tips and inspiration to help you creatively make the most of this year and every year after.

Sign up for Insights enews here free !

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Alignment VI

Alignment X

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Alignment XXIII

Alignment XXIII

Alignment XXII

Alignment XXII

Alignment XXVIII

Alignment XXVIII

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Constellation XV

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Constellation XIV

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Illumination XXIV

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Illumination XXXV

This is a selection of my top 12 images of 2015. This selection doesn’t reflect sales, publication, or activities on the web. It simply reflects my opinion. Click on the titles to find out more about each image.

Geography
My obsession continued with places defined by water (either an abundance of it or a lack of it) in the polar-regions of Greenland and Iceland and in the deserts (an absence of water, yet often shaped by waters long gone) of Namibia, Argentina, and California.

Process
Half the images I released in 2015 were exposed in other years. Several of the other images were processed on location or the day they were exposed. I date “straight” shots based on the date they were exposed and composites on the date they are completed.

Concepts
There were several new twists on old subjects and themes: amid sensual dunes multiple moments / perspectives became conjoined; levitating stones became ice; below reflective water surfaces instead of closer details full landscapes are seen; seeing through things to what lies behind them shifted from skies to landscapes.

Magnificent Moment
Once again, flying over the 1,500 foot coral dunes of Sossusvlei for more than an hour was simply divine, especially when coupled with the hours spent walking its shifting surfaces in constantly changing light.

It’s challenging to choose so few images from so many – but it’s insightful. Try selecting your own top 12 images. Try selecting the top 12 images of your favorite artist(s).

View more of my Annual Top 12 Selections here.

Read The Benefits Of Performing An Annual Image Review here.

Read The Benefits Of Selecting Your Top Images here.

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View my Top Images Of 2012 here.

Photographer Paul Strand said, “Your photography is a record of your living for anyone who really sees.” How do you see your photography? Where? How often? What ways? Why?

Performing an annual review of your images is one way to see your photography over and through time. When you do this, it’s useful to make a record of your observations. Consider both the selection of images and the observations you make about your selection a journal. It’s one of many different kinds of journals I keep. Like a journal, to get the maximum benefit, you need to make multiple entries at different times. The frequency with which you do this is up to you. I find I get the most out of this exercise when I do it annually.

An annual review or your images is useful in so many ways. It brings you more clarity. It helps you see what you accomplished. It shows you what is missing or left undone. It reveals new possibilities. It gives you more choices. It helps you set goals for the future. It increases productivity. It leads to greater fulfillment. While it takes discipline and effort to do, the results it produces feel great.

Annual reviews are not a waste of time. Quite the opposite, annual reviews help you spend the limited time you have before you more effectively. Annual reviews can even drive you to greater productivity. Knowing that you’ve got one coming up you may start working earlier, chart your progress over time towards a goal, and/or make a last minute sprint to the finish line to achieve your vision of success.

Record Your Observations In The Right Form

What’s the right form to record your observations in? The one you’ll use the most often. You could use someone else’s system or come up with a complex system of your own, but if it’s not practical and meaningful you won’t use it, so you might as well not have it. Remember what Albert Einstein said, “Make things as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

You could keep this process as simple as making a selection of images. Create a collection in Lightroom for fast access and flexible updating. And/or print out thumbnails for durable record that can be displayed for as long as you like. If you want to share your selection with others consider making a blog post, an ebook, or a print on demand book. Giving these types of activities a social dimension can encourage us to maintain them. Sometimes we get valuable feedback when other people see our selections. When, where, and how much you share is entirely up to you.

This process becomes even more valuable when you use words to state the reasons for your selections (inclusion and exclusion) and your observations about your new collections on their own and in comparison to past collections. In this way, what starts intuitively becomes clearer and more actionable, something you can use not just feel.

There are many ways you can record your observations video, audio, and writing. It might be fascinating to look back at and hear your younger self at some future date. Still, for quick retrieval of information, I find nothing beats text, especially when it’s flexible digital text. You can even use the search function to find an item quickly or to find connections between different items.

After you make your selections of and comments about new images, look back at your past selections and comments. The comparisons and contrasts you make between years can be very revealing. Doing this can reveal much more than a personal history of events. Looking back at past successes can reveal changes in level of skill, consistency of results, frequency of experimentation, clarity of vision, development of style, changes in subject matter and theme, shifts in goals and your definition of success, new opportunities, and so much more. In short, it can show you how your vision has developed, where you are now, and where you are most likely to go next.

Missed a few years? While your current perspective will never be the same as your past perspective, it’s never to late to create these kinds of collections. You may find that you will want to revise past selections and make new comments. Keep your old selections and comments for comparison at a later date, either in the same or in a separate location.

Find The Right Images 

Select only your best images. What’s best? That depends on what you’re trying to do with your images. While it can be useful to select images based on what gets a strong reaction from other people, that’s only one kind of selection that offers specific kinds of insights. There are many others. Make time and space for yourself. Define what success means to you before you start your selection process. How you define success will change your results. Remember. It’s your process. They’re your images. You’re doing this review for yourself.

The collections you create from annual reviews are often very different than the collections of images you make to develop a project. When performing annual reviews the images you select tends to be more varied and divergent, share fewer similarities, and contain little or no flow between them. You see core qualities but lose the narrative arc that drives your story forward or the connective tissue that makes it hang together. Subtler, more complex, sometimes contradictory or not fully resolved elements are often eliminated. Often, significant details are lost in this mix. The bigger picture may become clearer.

Select The Right Number Of Images

A very different kind of benefit is gained by looking at all of your images simultaneously. When you become more selective, you cut right to what’s essential. Limitations become useful. I recommend you select your top image (The apex is the bottom.), your top two or three images (Create a generative tension.), and your top twelve images (Confirm your vision and style.). (Read more about this in The Benefits Of Selecting Your Top Images.) There’s nothing special about the number twelve. With fewer than twelve images it becomes more challenging to fully see both the variety and the connections within images. If you choose more than twelve images make sure you don’t set the number so high that you can no longer see the larger patterns at work in your images.

Ask The Right Questions

They say that ninety percent of a solution lies in asking the right questions in the right ways. Not sure where to start? Get the ball rolling with these questions. Are there frequent technical deficiencies you’d like to correct? Are there past technical deficiencies you have corrected? Of all the new skills you’d like to acquire, which would be the most beneficial to invest your time in now? What kinds of images were produced? What common qualities do they share? What would you like to do more of? What project(s) would benefit from more sustained attention? What’s the easiest project to complete? What’s the most important project to complete? What haven’t you done yet? What missing? From these images, how many directions could you go in? How would you rate your overall progress? How would you rate your overall progress technically, compositionally, narratively, emotionally, and conceptually?

While there are some classic questions that we would all benefit from answering, only you can determine what the most useful questions are because only you know your true goals. It’s a healthy sign when you find that you need to ask other questions that are unique to you and your images. Engage the process of asking useful questions fully and repeatedly you will be guaranteed to make important discoveries.

When it comes to answering the questions you ask, remember that in this arena your audience is you. Use the language that you think the most fluidly in and the words that mean the most to you. Do challenge yourself to go deeper and achieve greater clarity. (Exactly what does that mean – to me?) Don’t censor yourself and don’t change your answers to please someone else. How much you choose to share with others in completely up to you. Do it if it’s useful. Don’t do it if it’s not.

Conclusion

Things change over time. So do we. And, so do our images. Nothing else records the change itself like a journal. Records of how our images change (and don’t change) can offer us (and others) valuable insights into both our creative lives and ourselves. Most importantly, we can learn from our past to make our future more like the life we want to live.

Read more on Creative Planning here.

Learn more in my creativity and digital photography workshops.

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View My Top 12 Images Of 2011 here.

When asked, “How many good images do you make in a year?”, Ansel Adams replied, “Twelve good images in a year is a good crop.” Imogene Cunningham responded, “One in a lifetime.” Both perspectives are useful.

We all make a lot of photographs. Selecting the few that are worth developing and sharing is an essential skill. Choosing what to show and what not to show, we train our eye, connect with what’s most important to us, and develop our visual voice.

We edit our images with increasing degrees of focus; generally for all the images we make, more specifically for certain spans of time, and even more particularly for a few chosen subjects or themes. From the thousands (sometimes tens or even hundreds of thousands) of images we make, we select hundreds and finally dozens to focus our attention on.

Reviewing what we have created offers us an opportunity to revisit the events of the past and see them from a new perspective, savoring all they have to offer us and possibly what we missed. Selecting only a chosen few of our creations to collect, highlight, and often share, offers us opportunities to reflect upon and interpret our experiences and gain the strength that comes from the discipline of courageously committing to our vision.

To gain the maximum benefits from this process of selection, we can choose to be even more selective and identify even fewer of our most important images. To do this, we must ask ourselves vital questions, which become rich wellsprings of personal insight.

Take it to an extreme. Identify your top one image, two images, and twelve images. Do this for a lifetime, each year, and specific projects. Make this a habit; revisit it annually.

While the order you answer these questions and the time period you give yourself to answer them will influence your outcome, ultimately it doesn’t matter in what order you do this or how long you take, as long as you arrive at your personal answers. The vast majority of people never ask these questions, much less answer them. Be exceptional. Ask these essential questions and find your answers. In time, you will find that you will get better and more fulfilling results from all of your creative efforts.

Identify Your Best Image

Identify your best image – the one image that you feel is most successful at achieving what you want to achieve with your images. When you have finally selected this one most important image, ask yourself, “Why this image?” and, “Why not that one?” Doing this will help you identify your key core values and desired outcomes. There’s usually so much richness in this one image that it’s likely that you will need to ask this question many times over a significant span of time. Once you have begun to find your answers (Feedback from others can be helpful, just remember your answers count most.), ask a few follow up questions, “How many things can I do to make more images like this?” and “How many things can I do to make even better work?”

Finding this one image can be important for other people as well as yourself. When discussing the work of artists, people often ask “When you think of this artist, what one image do you think of?” Ask yourself, “What one image do you want to be remembered for?” “Which image is that now?” “What image would you like that to be in the future?” “If you were to create a new image that you would be most known for, what would you like that image to be?”

Your single best image for your lifetime is a guiding light that not only reveals your highest accomplishments but also coalesces core qualities that become the keys to unlocking your future successes and ultimate fulfillment.

Your single best image for a year is a touchstone that can be used to compare and contrast current successes with past successes and identify future directions.

Your single best image for a project communicates your vision and style most successfully. Often, it is used as the lead for a post, a cover for a book, and a card or poster for an exhibit.

Find Your Two Best Images

If you were to select a second image to go with your one best image, which image would that be? How is it similar? How is it different? Both the comparisons (reinforcement or confirmation) and contrasts are important. The comparisons are useful because they help you identify core qualities. There are so many things that can be said about one image and only a few of them are truly significant. When you see what two highly successful images share you can quickly cut through the noise and find what’s essential. This provides both confirmation and reinforcement. The contrasts are useful because the unresolved tension it created can become generative. It can lead you to more ideas. How many images could connect the two? How many ways can you connect the two? What kinds of images could be created by combining their different qualities? If the two images you select are so similar that no generative tension is created, you may want to select a third that creates it.

Your best two images for a lifetime create a synergy where all that is implied between the similarities and differences becomes a fertile field of possibilities.

Your best two images for a year can display multiple directions – whether subject, theme, or style – whose tension can become generative. Caution, if the tension is never reconcile, either in whole or in part, it often produces confusion rather than richness and depth.

Your best two images for a project can show how both are multi-dimensional, telling more than one side of a story.

Select Your Twelve Best Images

Twelve images are more than enough to tell a complete story. If they’re your images, the story your images tell is not only the story of the subject and themes you select, the story they tell is also your story. The curation you perform to create collections of your work speaks (and sometimes creates) volumes.

If your top twelve images display entirely different subjects, themes, and styles it’s likely that you love your craft but have not developed significant depth in your vision. Jacks of all trades master none. Commitment is the key ingredient to achieving depth – the greater the commitment, the greater the depth. It’s not that you can’t do different things; variety can be energizing. It is that if you have a way of doing things that is your own and it informs everything you do then you are on your path. You may wander but you are not wandering aimlessly.

Ask a few key questions will help guide you on your journey of discovery. How are the insights you gain from looking at individual images different than the insights you gain from looking at groups of images? How does your perspective shift when you create different groups from the same material? Remember that outliers can be both revealing and generative.

For professional artists, a majority of the income from the sales of their works tends to come from their top twelve images. But be careful not to use sales as the criteria for selection here; to live the most fulfilling creative life determine what success means to you.

Your best twelve images for a lifetime confirm that you’re much more than a one hit wonder and have a depth of vision that is supported by a well-crafted style.

Your best twelve images for a year can reveal many directions, potential projects, and overall levels of performance commenting usefully on growth both present and future. Look carefully for milestones, breakthroughs, and outliers.

Your best twelve images for a project provide a strong framework that supports and guides all the other images that are added to it serving as enticing introductions, setting and maintaining a course, and creating compelling conclusions.

If you can’t see the benefits of selecting your best works by now, then trust me and just try it. Nothing teaches you more than direct experience. If you can, just do it. Talking about it will actually reveal much, but doing it will reveal more.

Read more on Creative Planning here.

Learn more in my creativity and digital photography workshops.

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Sign up for our early alert list and get this PDF free.

Download DPD’s Bucket List here.

When Seth Resnick and I started Digital Photo Destinations workshops we picked locations from our bucket lists – and we still do. We go to the places we feel our lives would be incomplete if we didn’t visit them.

What’s on our bucket list? Climb glaciers and into ice caves above Iceland’s Jokulsarlon; fly helicopters over 1000 foot high coral dunes in Namibia’s Sossusvlei, ride camels in Morocco’s Erg Chagaga; sail through the world’s largest ice fiord in Greenland’s Illulisat; glide in zodiacs through Antarctica’s “Iceberg Graveyard”; drink tea along China’s Li River surrounded by its misty mountains; walk through Shinto garden shrines in Japan’s Kyoto (both in spring bloom and fall color). These are just a few of the things on our bucket list.

What’s on your bucket list? If you don’t have a bucket list use ours to start one; you’ll do more of the things you want to do. If you do have a bucket list, you may decide to add an item or two you see on our bucket list. And, if you find a destination that’s already on your bucket list here, we hope you’ll join us.

Find out about our next Digital Photo Destinations adventures here.

See more in our contact sheets from previous adventures here.

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Patti Dobrowlski shows you how to build a roadmap to your desired future. See it. Believe it. Act on it. But how do you see what hasn’t happened yet? Draw your dream. If sketching can increase your memory 69%, imagine what it can do to help you plan and stay on track to the future you desire.

View more in The Essential List Of Creativity Videos.

DPDBucketList425

Download DPD’s Bucket List here.

When Seth Resnick and I started Digital Photo Destinations workshops we picked locations from our bucket lists – and we still do. We go to the places we feel our lives would be incomplete if we didn’t visit them. What’s on our bucket list? Climb glaciers and into ice caves above Iceland’s Jokulsarlon; fly helicopters over 1000 foot high coral dunes in Namibia’s Sossusvlei, ride camels in Morocco’s Erg Chagaga; sail through the world’s largest ice fiord in Greenland’s Illulisat; glide in zodiacs through Antarctica’s “Iceberg Graveyard”; explore New Zealand’s lyrical fiords and coastlines; walk through Shinto garden shrines in Japan’s Kyoto (both in spring bloom and fall color). These are just a few of the things on our bucket list.

What’s on your bucket list? If you don’t have a bucket list use ours to start one; you’ll do more of the things you want to do. If you do have a bucket list, you may decide to add an item or two you see on our bucket list. And, if you find a destination that’s already on your bucket list here, we hope you’ll join us.

Find out about our next Digital Photo Destinations adventures here.

See more in our contact sheets from previous adventures here.

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Enjoy this collection of quotes on Ideas.

“Everything begins with an idea.” – Earl Nightingale

“Ideas can be life-changing. Sometimes all you need to open the door is just one more good idea.” – Jim Rohn

“To get a great idea, come up with lots of them.” — Thomas Edison

“The way to get good ideas is to get lots of ideas and throw the bad ones away.” – Linus Pauling

“Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.” – John Steinbeck

“It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.” — Edward de Bono

“No idea is so outlandish that it should not be considered.” – Winston Churchill

“Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward: they may be beaten, but they may start a winning game.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“New scientific ideas never spring from a communal body, however organized, but rather from the head of an individually inspired researcher who struggles with his problems in lonely thought and unites all his thought on one single point which is his whole world for the moment.” ― Max Planck

“You shouldn’t be a prisoner of your own ideas.” – Sol LeWitt

“The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones.” — John Maynard Keynes

“It’s easy to come up with new ideas; the hard part is letting go of what worked for you two years ago, but will soon be out-of-date.” – Roger von Oech

“If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.” ― Albert Einstein

“Almost all really new ideas have a certain aspect of foolishness when they are just produced.” – Alfred North Whitehead

“A new idea is first condemned as ridiculous and then dismissed as trivial, until finally, it becomes what everybody knows.” – William James

“I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones.” ― John Cage

“The air is full of ideas. They are knocking you in the head all the time. You only have to know what you want, then forget it, and go about your business. Suddenly, the idea will come through. It was there all the time.” – Henry Ford

“When I am ….. completely myself, entirely alone… or during the night when I cannot sleep, it is on such occasions that my ideas flow best and most abundantly. Whence and how these ideas come I know not nor can I force them.” ― Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

“When the ideas are coming, I don’t stop until the ideas stop because that train doesn’t come along all the time.” – Dr. Dre

“There are a thousand thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen to write.” ― William Makepeace Thackeray

“My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living.” – Anais Nin

“Labor gives birth to ideas.” – Jim Rohn

“I know quite certainly that I myself have no special talent. Curiosity, obsession and dogged endurance, combined with self-criticism, have brought me to my ideas.” – Albert Einstein

“Ideas are the seeds, not the substance, of creativity.” — Michael Schrage

“If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.” ― George Bernard Shaw

“The ideas I stand for are not mine. I borrowed them from Socrates. I swiped them from Chesterfield. I stole them from Jesus. And I put them in a book. If you don’t like their rules, whose would you use?” – Dale Carnegie

“Ideas won’t keep. Something must be done about them.”– Alfred North Whitehead

“You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.” – Lee Iacocca

“A mediocre idea that generates enthusiasm will go further than a great idea that inspires no one.” – Mary Kay Ash

“But the truth is, it’s not the idea, it’s never the idea, it’s always what you do with it.”― Neil Gaiman

“You do things when the opportunities come along. I’ve had periods in my life when I’ve had a bundle of ideas come along, and I’ve had long dry spells. If I get an idea next week, I’ll do something. If not, I won’t do a damn thing.” – Warren Buffet

“Money never starts an idea. It is always the idea that starts the money.” – Owen Laughlin

“After years of telling corporate citizens to ‘trust the system’, many companies must relearn instead to trust their people and encourage them to use neglected creative capacities in order to tap the most potent economic stimulus of all: idea power.” – Rosabeth Moss Kanter

“Capital isn’t that important in business. Experience isn’t that important. You can get both of these things. What is important is ideas.” – Harvey Firestone

“Our best ideas come from clerks and stockboys.” – Sam Walton

“To turn really interesting ideas and fledgling technologies into a company that can continue to innovate for years, requires a lot of discipline.” – Steve Jobs

“Enthusiasm is the yeast that makes your hopes shine to the stars. Enthusiasm is the sparkle in your eyes, the swing in your gait. The grip of your hand, the irresistible surge of will and energy to execute your ideas.” – Henry Ford

“If you are possessed by an idea, you find it expressed everywhere, you even smell it.” – Thomas Mann

“Everyone is in love with their own ideas.” – Carl Jung

“If you do not express your own original ideas, if you do not listen to your own being, you will have betrayed yourself.” – Rollo May

“One’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

“A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn; it can be stabbed to death by a quip and worried to death by a frown on the right man’s brow.” – Ovid

“If you want to kill any idea in the world, get a committee working on it.” – Charles Kettering

“A war of ideas can no more be won without books than a naval war can be won without ships. Books, like ships, have the toughest armor, the longest cruising range, and mount the most powerful guns.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt

“A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on. Ideas have endurance without death.” ― John F. Kennedy

“You can kill a man, but you can’t kill an idea.” – Medgar Evers

“You have to have an idea of what you are going to do, but it should be a vague idea.” – Pablo Picasso

“Nearly every man who develops an idea works it up to the point where it looks impossible, and then he gets discouraged. That’s not the place to become discouraged.” – Thomas Edison

“With ideas it is like with dizzy heights you climb: At first they cause you discomfort and you are anxious to get down, distrustful of your own powers; but soon the remoteness of the turmoil of life and the inspiring influence of the altitude calm your blood; your step gets firm and sure and you begin to look – for dizzier heights.” – Nikola Tesla

“New ideas pass through three periods: 1) It can’t be done; 2) It probably can be done, but it’s not worth doing; 3) I knew it was a good idea all along!” – Arthur C. Clarke

“An idea, like a ghost, must be spoken to a little before it will explain itself.” – Charles Dickens

“I begin with an idea and then it becomes something else.” – Pablo Picasso

“An idea isn’t responsible for the people who believe it.” – Don Marquis

“An idea is salvation by imagination.” – Frank Lloyd Wright

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.” – Robin Williams

“There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come.”– Victor Hugo

Read more in The Essential Collection Of Creativity Quotes.

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What’s a bucket list? A list of things you want to do before you “kick the bucket” or die. At first, making a bucket list sounds macabre. Once you consider that a bucket list is really about identifying the things you want to do most while you’re alive, you’ll quickly realize that it’s not scary or depressing at all. It’s exciting! You make a bucket list to help you live the life you really want to live.

Ask the important questions. “What do you most want to do before you die?” Or, “What things haven’t you done that if you don’t do them your life will feel incomplete?” Some people never ask this question, until it’s too late. Those that do ask and answer these questions have a much greater chance of living the lives they want to live than those who don’t.

Start your list. It’s never too early or too late to start a bucket list. Younger people often think there’s plenty of time to ask these questions and make their bucket list – later. Don’t count on it. Start now. Imagine the life you will live if you do! Older people sometimes think it’s too late for them to start a bucket list. It’s never too late. It’s likely that as you grow older your list will become shorter – and quite likely more important than ever.

It’s your list. Only you can answer what you want to add to your list. Still, looking at other people’s bucket lists may help you identify things that you’d forgotten or had never thought of. It can be both enjoyable and meaningful to compare lists with your friends. Doing this may help you clarify your thoughts and feelings and make important decisions.

Make your list a garden of possibilities. Grow your list. Weed your list. Train your list. Long is good. If you don’t list everything, important things may be missed. Unmanageable isn’t. Your list may quickly grow so long it becomes impractical and unmanageable. Rather than making your list shorter and limiting your possibilities, rank your list, sequencing the items in order of importance. Put the most important items at the top of your list. Identify the most important thing, the three most important things, the six most important things, and the twelve most important things. For each item, ask yourself, “What is so important about this?” Remember, the only right answer is your answer. By thoughtfully considering what’s on your list, your thoughts and feelings about yourself and your life will become clearer. Align your goals with them. You may find that when you identify important qualities and outcomes you find other ways, possibly even better ways, to satisfy them.

Work your bucket list. It’s not written in stone. Your list is there to serve you, not the other way around. Instead of writing your bucket list once and putting it away, revisit it – frequently. Visualizing the things on your list will increase the likelihood that you will accomplish them. You can do many things with your bucket list –remember things, clarify goals, set and revise priorities, add new relevant items and remove outdated ones. Though it may grow shorter, your bucket list is never finished – until you’re finished.

Take action. Making and managing a list isn’t enough. You have to start making things happen. For the most important items on your list, ask “What thing(s) do I need to do to make something happen?” “Are there other people who can help me make it happen?” While it’s most important to identify the most important things on your list, it’s also important to identify the easiest things to do. At any given moment, there’s always a new balance to be struck between effort and resources. Don’t let the little stuff get in the way of the big stuff, but do enjoy it. Doing these things will quickly give you a sense of accomplishment. You can do this! Once you start making things happen for yourself, you’ll find this becomes habit forming. It’s a good habit!

Give yourself a timeline. It’s easy to get distracted or make excuses. And, there are some things that can only be done at specific times, sometimes for a limited time only. Often, the distractions or excuses come from other people. Make time for yourself. Having trouble rationalizing this? Add up all the time you spend doing things for other people. Now add up all the time you spend doing things for yourself. If you’re like most people, you’ll quickly see that an imbalance. So, don’t you deserve a little more time for yourself? Imagine what the benefits to both yourself and everyone you help or spend time with will be, if you make time for the most important things in your life and become the best you you can be.

Record your accomplishments. List the items you do and the dates you did them. (You may even want to make notes on the benefits of having done them.) I recommend you make this a part of your bucket list. Then, whenever you look at your bucket list, you’ll see that you’re moving forward. In time, looking at this part of your bucket list will probably bring back many fond memories.

Still don’t have a bucket list? What’s stopping you? After all, it’s your life. A bucket list will help you make it more so.

Read more in my Creativity Planning resources.

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These are two book covers for projects I’m currently developing.

I create visual reminders for projects I’m currently working on. Then I place them in my working environment. They constantly prompt me to consider the work I’m developing at many times and in many moods. I sleep on it. I collect sketches and notes. I plan trips to make new exposures and list what I kind of material I’m looking for. I assemble relevant finished images in the series. I look for connections between images currently being made and images made in the past. I list many ways to develop the work.

What projects are you developing?
What kinds of visual reminders would be helpful to you?
What other things can you do to develop the work you want to do right now?

Learn more about creative planning and goal setting here.

Learn more in my creativity and digital photography workshops.


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