30 Days | 10 Tracks: An experiment in showing up, deliberate practice and finishing
I’ve caught myself lately getting caught up in good ideas and partially finished projects. I’ve wanted to get better at writing and finishing songs but I find I keep starting, getting stuck, and moving onto something new the next time I sit down to create. I needed something to break the cycle.
I was watching a video by Levi Allen and was inspired to grab a copy of Manage Your Day to Day. Though I’ve only cracked it open a few times, I’ve found some very profound things in the first few pages alone that have made me take a closer look at what’s going on with my creativity.
My mantra has always been “it’s not about ideas, it’s about making ideas happen.” …when folks want to talk creativity, what they’re really seeking is help with execution, ways to take action more effectively. – Scott Belsky
I was struck by this quote. I’ve always been the guy to grab every book I can find about the creative process in hopes that it would give me some great insight or secret to doing the work I want to do. Well, this time it worked. I’m great at coming up ideas, but I stink at taking the steps to see them through. I have a long list of projects that I’ve started but never finished and I want that to change. I’m challenging myself to show up and push into some deliberate practice of writing and finishing songs.
Over the next 30 days I’m going to make 10 full tracks. I’m going to sit down and work on one track at a time and limit myself to the tools and setup I already have: my guitar rig, a simplified drum kit (kick, snare, hats, crash/ride with one overhead), vocal mic and any sound or effect I can find in Ableton Live. No wasting time playing with gear. This is all about finishing and execution.
I’ll post each track to Soundcloud and put a link here on the blog with a short post capturing thoughts throughout the process that I can learn from, kinda like a public journal post. This will help me process what’s happening, enjoy what’s going well and show me where I need to keep working. Writing will also help me dig up some other feelings and ideas that I can use to write new songs/tracks.
The hardest part of this project will be wrestling with perfectionism. Pushing myself to finish will stretch some muscles that maybe have never been stretched before and help me battle this need to tweak things until they’re perfect. As they say, “finished is better than perfect.”
That’s it – 30 days of uncomfortable, deep dives into finishing music. Wish me luck!