Your first 10,000 photos are your worst
"Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst"
- Henri Cartier-Bresson
I was looking through my collection the other day and noticed that with every passing year I take almost exponentially more photographs. It reminded me that this is one of the most important things that I - and you - can do. More.
Cartier-Bresson stated the above before the advent of digital cameras, so perhaps it should be 100,000 now. Malcolm Gladwell the Canadian journalist in 2008 coined the '10,000-hour rule', and reckons that the key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of repetition and practice for a total of around 10,000 hours. And although he wasn't talking about photography, Ira Glass was right when he said you've got to get rid of a lot of crap before you're going to get anything that's special.
With your 10,000 hours comes technical mastery. One of the most important things about this, is that it gradually frees you from worrying about f-stops, focus points and exposure compensation, so your right brain can concentrate on the real job at hand of working your creativity.
Compositional 'rules', tips from experts and Photoshop plug-ins can help, but understand for sure there are no shortcuts. Shortcuts not only don't work, they waste your time recovering from their failed promises and realising you have to just get back to the grindstone.
There's no point hanging around waiting for the lightning strike of inspiration either. Waiting for the muse to appear is a romantic notion and most creative people will tell you that you just have to get on with job and she will eventually join you. All the best ideas come out of the process.
Whatever your creative interest, just make sure you prioritise one important rule: do more of it!