I didn’t come all the way to a fully finished/produced song the week that went by. Instead I’m come halfway with two. Life gets in the way, but I find that by just keeping at it I move in baby steps in the right direction. Tonight I just took half an hour to lay down some bass guitar.
This felt like progress last week:
I finished the lyric I needed for one of the songs – working title: Beak.
I thought I got a pretty nice acoustic guitar sound recording with a Neumann KM-185. A small diaphragm condenser that is hypercardiod – which I thinks makes it suitable for less than perfect rooms.
Habit-wise: I ticked off making music everyday, and I did lyric writing exercises every day (uhm, though not yesterday).
It’s Saturday morning and I’m annoyed. At least I was yesterday evening. Now, it’s morning. I awoke early. -10 degrees C, clear sky and the sun has not yet risen over the hill. Everything is possible. I’m optimistic.
Still, I was annoyed going to bed. I’m dragging behind my plan. Making less music than I intend to. I don’t intend to whine, but since I enter this state so often. I need to think about what’s going wrong. What’s the culprit?
Someone have to keep track of how I’m doing. It better be me. The first week 2021 I wrote one new song (music+lyric), I managed 5 Microbrute jams + one acoustic jam. I also did a live video take of me jamming on Push/APC-40 with a Chaka Khan-sample.
Whatever floats one’s boat, but gamification seems to work for me. For the last year I’ve kept a habit tracker. Ticking of my habits every day. This year I’ve decided to try to tick six boxes every day:
Phone a friend/relative
Share/publish (blog included)
Clean my studio
For now, I’m definitely most behind on phoning friends.
I stumbled upon this sentence the other day. Apparently it’s a famous old Zen-saying. “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” And I take it as advice to focus on the process, not the results. If we just focus on our running and our breathing – the finish line will come.
It’s a piece of advice I’ve seen in many forms. Focus on on the verb, not the noun. Just do the work.
Another saying I remind myself of is “work gets done in the time available”. It’s all the time we’ve got, so if anything is to be achieved that’s what we need to use. I’ve often wished for myself to have more time for my creative endeavours, but it has often shown that once given days of free time I’m often not in the mood/position to make use of it.
I find it comforting to know that in creative work/art/ five minutes on fire can outdo weeks. So for 2021 I need to make the most of the “loose minutes” that can be found every hour. A quick strum, a few jotted words.
2020 has been challenging for many and devastating for some. Personally, I’ve been spared so far. And I haven’t had to sacrifice much but my convenience. A skiing holiday. The Ableton Loop conference in Berlin was cancelled. The Way out West-festival in Gothenburg was cancelled. And I don’t get to meet or hug my elderly parents as much as I’m used to. I meet friends less, haven’t been to a show, gig, theatre, cinema, restaurant. If I focus on the negative it obviously was a year of disability, but I had a lot of fun in my head.
2020 was the year I started swimming, learning to crawl. I did the Vasaloppet Öppet Spår cross-country skirace 90 km. And I took a University course in Electronic Music Production. The course turned out very well for me. The weekly assignments gave me a focus, as I had to hand in a song every other week during the fall.
So for 2021 I’m full of lofty goals and stratosphere ambition when it comes to my creative output. For Christmas I got Jeff Tweedy’s new book How to Write One Song. It’s a lovely and inspiring read, full of pep-talk and support and clever techniques and games to make songwriting fun and rewarding instead of difficult and demanding. I finished my first song using these techniques yesterday and hope I can keep the ball rolling.
My idea for 2021 is to continuously keep sharing creative work on this site every week. Snippets, songs, haikus or whatever. We’ll take it from here.