Getting into the habit of creating is essential. According to psychologist Malcolm Gladwell, it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to be world-class in any field. I’ve found that musicians are pretty good about practicing their instrument, but usually don’t practice songwriting. Songwriting is seen as a means to an end; you write enough songs so you have something to play. Once that’s satisfied, you “take a break.” Only when you get tired of your songs or feel “inspired” do you write again. I know this isn’t true for everybody, but this was certainly true for me.
Since then my mindset has changed. I want to write as many songs as possible. I’ve mentioned before the dangers of being too precious with your songs, and when you only write ten a year it’s easy to do that. The more you write the easier you can let go and actually finish. And finishing is the hardest part. Those last, nit picky details that aren’t quite right. I’m learning to chill about those. I would rather call it quits on a song that’s 94.5% done and actually release it than toil another two weeks to only slightly improve it. For some important releases it could still be worth the effort, but when I’m just trying to write a lot of songs I need to manage my time better. As Sheryl Sandberg said, “Done is better than perfect.”
Both of my teachers have spoken about the importance of consistent creation. It shows employers that you are a creative person that delivers. Dr. Olson told us about his experience working with a publisher and being able to show them a catalog of over 300 songs. One of the reasons I started this blog was to have more practice creating consistently.
I also started a Facebook group called Music Challenge Monthly where I issue a writing prompt each month. The goal is to motivate each other to finish more music. We’ve had Lo-Fi July, Synthwave September, and for October we’re writing Halloween music. If you’re interested in joining, find us on Facebook. Here is my Synthwave September track:
Thanks for following my journey! Stay tuned for more songs, demos, and stories.