There's tons of people out there who can grab a camera and take a ramble and come back with a bunch of pictures, and in a way, I am jealous of them. Not all of them produce pictures that are any good, and some of them tend toward imbuing these visual beachcombings with rather more weight than I find convincing. But sometimes they're perfectly nice pictures, pleasing to look at.
I could probably do this, technically. At least pretty well. I like to think I have some minimal competence in filling a frame.
The point is, though, that I don't want to. It's not that I am jealous of other people's ability to do it, I am jealous of their ability to take pleasure in doing it. It's just not fun for me, and it clearly is for them (even the windbags, even the people who take junky snaps of nothing.)
Related, and even more important in my tiny insular philosophical corner of the world, is that I find myself unable to force a story to emerge from snapped pictures.
I am certain, as sure as I am that the sun will rise, that if one simply goes and takes photos on some theme, that some sort of project can in theory emerge. One can, eventually, construct a sort of poem, a sonata, or a story, by simply starting out shooting and letting the project emerge.
I can't do it.
I absolutely cannot do it. I have tried, and it does not happen. I have to have some sort of project idea to start with, or nothing happens. What emerges may not much resemble the initial project idea, so in theory I could have started anywhere, right? If the end of the journey is far away from the beginning, why does it matter where you start? And yet, somehow, it does.
I have over the years preached variations on this process, this method that does not work for me, so if I suckered you into it and it didn't work for you either, I apologize. On the other hand, maybe it worked beautifully for you! In that case, I do not apologize.
As always, I dare say there is a spectrum from no idea whatever to a very clear idea indeed and all I can really be sure of is that I need to begin somewhere near the clear idea end of the spectrum. Where, exactly, is a bit murky. All I know is that if I am too far off in the weeds, I end up with a pile of photos and no will whatsoever to look at them after a little while.
So, I Don't Know! Maybe you should always start with a pretty clear project idea!