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Step Eight - Re-vitalise emotionally and visually with Tom Ang

Get up early and scribble thoughts

Creativity, like every human activity, becomes easier with practice. Use your notebook as the scratch-pad for anything. Free-form thoughts. It’s not for anyone else to read, only you, so use it as you like. Even if it’s a shopping list or for noting a phone number, or URL for an interesting Web site, or to remind you to look up a photographer whose work you don’t know. When you get into this, if you don’t have your notebook with you, you’ll scribble on the nearest bit of paper - a cafe receipt, bus ticket, back of envelope. Feel free to do that. Then stick the scrap of paper in the book.

In fact, the exercise of ignoring that irritating little voice in your head that criticises, censors and nags you while you scribble thoughts down starts to break you away from your internal censor. That’s something else we’ll talk about sometime - how to deal with the internal censor, and the difference between that and the internal quality control supervisor.

Some people make an art of the notebook, using tickets and post-cards or odd prints to liven up the page and make it pretty. Or you can use pens with different coloured inks to make the entries easier to separate out, and make the page look more interesting. But it’s your notebook - make it as simple or complicated as you like.

Over time, you will discover you build a great resource. For instance, some ideas come ahead of the time they can be put into effect. It’s as if they turn up and get unconscious and sub-conscious parts of your mind started. It could be years before it all comes together: your skills and capabilities, your thinking and the time and opportunity. When you flick over old note-books you may find an entry that you’d forgotten but it’s as if it was written yesterday: it’s exactly what you want - a contact, a key word, or just a reminder that you’ve had this idea at the back of your mind for the last year.

Photograph by Tom Ang from his ‘Homescapes' collection.

(All photographs in this collection were made at home or in a small room.)

For further information about Tom Ang, his photography and his books please visit

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