So I was thinking of blogging/venting/whining that lately I’ve not been in a great place n my ‘creative’ brain. I set myself goals, then fail to meet them, set some more, then miss those, and feel bad for it.
Rather than accept that these self-imposed deadlines were unreasonable, I tend to blame myself, and force myself to work harder, becoming more and more frustrated. That is the way my head works I’m afraid, no amount of time spent staring at Lifehacker for tips to overcome writers-block will actually cure it.
But last year I was in the same place, but I was so busy with other things like figuring out my live sets, moving house, job stress etc I didn’t notice, but I still made things! I noticed today I had a folder of Logic projects from 2012 that I barley remembered titling.
I hadn’t touched this is over 6 months, it was just Logic files with a couple of finished tracks hiding at the bottom that I was proud of (and released).
Lesson 1: You may feel you are scrapping the barrel, you might actually *be* scrapping the barrel. It doesn’t matter. Keep going.
Today, feeling like I was banging my head on the wall, I opened a few and played back these little ideas, sometimes just loops of noises I’d made, others *almost* finished.
It was refreshing hearing these, knowing that I could dip back into these loops and ideas with fresh ears. Like sampling old vinyl, but the tracks were yours to begin with.
Lesson 2: Go back to those older ideas. They are still yours to rework, loop, chop up etc.
… Not that I’ve done this yet, I intend to though, I made a list. I love lists. It’s nice having some source material. Think about building websites/programs, you don’t start with nothing, you have a built up body of code you can build on. Sometimes this is yours, sometimes its stuff you’ve pulled from other places. Then you build.
The last lesson (which is less a lesson more of a personal little rule).. This process works best if you don’t release everything you do. Leave it to simmer, let things grow naturally. I know that not everything I do will be perfect, I still often listen to somethings I’ve put out and cringe (“why did I not cut that part in half?!” “man that EQ needs a tweak?” “why did I think singing was a good idea?!”) but that is hindsight. Allow a bit of time not for hindsight, but for some perspective. Go back to those old ideas, see how they fit in now you’ve made new ways of working.
Lesson 3: Don’t rush things, and don’t release everything you do as soon as possible. Pause. Simmer.
Enough sermonising. I do need to keep working, I wish I had something to show you, play you or something but I don’t. I will be playing a new track or two at next weeks show, because I can.
Bonus Lesson: Write everything down. Somewhere, doesn’t matter where. I write a lot on my guitar, often in fits and bursts with Logic open and build up layers before transposing to other instruments/synths etc.. In the heat of the moment this is fine, but damn, write the notes/tab down somewhere. Yeah you can remember something a week later, great. But if you come back 6-7 months later and think “whoa whats THAT chord!?” it certainly helps having some rough scribbles in a notebook to guide you rather than have to tab out your own work or get frustrated.. that may just be me though.