1. Choose a theme or subjectDon’t flesh it out. Don’t make fancy flowcharts or, for the love of Ansel, start writing an artist statement. Just choose something that you love, something that you’re curious about, perhaps something of which you’ve made a few images and thought, Hey, I like that, I should do more. Choose one. This is the hardest part for most people. Don’t get paralyzed; this isn’t the only personal project you’re ever going to do. If you have a list, great! Pick the first one, and keep growing that list. You’ll need it when this next project is done. Whatever you do, don’t feel the need to have the whole thing worked out. You’ll never begin if you do it that way. The magic of these projects is that you discover as you go.
2. Choose your constraintsDo this as soon as possible. Write it down. “I will create a series of 12 square format black and white photographs that explore the relationship between my cat and my aardvark.” Those are well-expressed constraints. Add a deadline and you’re off to the races. Add an outlet for how you will share them, and I’ll send you a gold star. "By the end of October, I will create a series of 12 square format black and white photographs that explore the relationship between my cat and my aardvark. These will be printed 12” x 12” and displayed at the local Aardvark and Cat Rehab Centre in November.” Constraints are everything. Choose them well, choose them quickly, and then move on. Again, if you decide you want to change the constraints, do it. If you have a good reason. In Italy recently, I set out to do a black and white series. The work became not just colour, but bright, vibrant, colour. It was the initial constraint that got me to that point, then I changed it. And if you have a whole list of the kinds of things you want to do, make a list, pick one and move on.
3. Begin today: don’t waitDon’t deliberate. Pick up your camera and make the first steps. Make the first photograph, render it in colour or black and white, print it, and put it on the wall with a deadline written across it in red Sharpie marker (or whatever you need to do to get excited) to see one small step’s worth of momentum, and to begin to get ideas about what that next step looks like.