Kick in the pants

Its been 7 months or so since I have written a lick of music.  I have some good opportunities to receive performances if I could just write something but...nope.  Every idea seems like "been there done that" or "well whoop-dee-freakin-doo another 'interesting' combination of notes, how exciting..."  Perhaps part of the reason I can't come up with anything is precisely because I have the chance to be performed, the reality is intimidating or something...or maybe I have finally come to realize that I should leave composing to the composers?  Oh, boo-freaking-hoo right?  Anyways, kick me in the pants would ya?  Wait, let me put my pants on first (metaphorically speaking)

 

Hey, maybe it's a good thing I've stopped composing, that stuff can eat you up.  If only I could get rid of that little voice asking what music I have written lately with such innocent optimism...it always pains me to let the little fellow down.  All kidding aside though, how important is composing really?  Maybe I should take up crotcheting or expand my hobbies in other ways and not worry about it.  If inspiration feels like coming over to play, great, but until then...

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  • Well you might consider making a radical change:  instead of waiting for inspiration to strike,  write something each week -  inspired or not.  I try to write 100 bars each week, and have pretty much done this for 2 years.  I'm convinced it has made a big difference in my growth as a composer.  Are they all gems?  No, but every now and then something pretty good emerges and this keeps you going. 

     

    Don't be afraid to fail - it is an important part of the process.   

  • This sounds like good advice Paul.  

    Make a commitment to have something to show every week.  Keep pushing yourself to write till the musical phrases begin to flow.

    Unless you want to crochet, but it would amount to a similar activity.  Nice chain stitching and crochet flowers, now make some more.

    Paul H. Muller said:

    Well you might consider making a radical change:  instead of waiting for inspiration to strike,  write something each week -  inspired or not.  I try to write 100 bars each week, and have pretty much done this for 2 years.  I'm convinced it has made a big difference in my growth as a composer.  Are they all gems?  No, but every now and then something pretty good emerges and this keeps you going. 

     

    Don't be afraid to fail - it is an important part of the process.   

    Kick in the pants
    Its been 7 months or so since I have written a lick of music.  I have some good opportunities to receive performances if I could just write something…
  • I agree with Paul's idea of writing regardless of your inspiration, or lack thereof. 

     

    Also, plenty of tunes have come about for me because I was testing out a new piece of equipment or a new layout/workflow in my studio.  When the pressure to write something of quality is removed I often find myself at my most creative.

  • "Always at least an hour a day" is one idea I heard once about composing routine and I quite like that concept. You might do more, but never less and it keeps process turning over and advancing. I had a composition teacher that said "I only write when I've got something to say", but personally I think inspiration comes through work. 

    If you've got performers waiting to play your music that's probably the biggest kick in the pants your ever likely to get! These days I don't think it matters if every work written is not radically different to its predecessor, varying the instrumentation will already ensure some difference, there are lots of combinations to write for so that will increase performance opportunities.

  • The consensus seems to be that I should just shut up and write some damn music.  Noted!  This has been a pattern for me, intense, brief periods of composing followed by long, dull periods of none.  A bit manic depressive perhaps...Nonetheless, I like the idea of writing no matter what, I've told others the exact same thing when I am in a creative phase.
  • I try and work on some music 4 hours day, some times I do more or less. I try not to force myself to do it. However I know I need to be a zone to it well. A couple of things I do to help me stay on the creative path.

    Exercise, I can't stress it enough, 2 to 3 times a week. Helps your head, helps you get perspective on your work, helps you with not only the little guy in your head but all his mates which talk to you all day, all night and them some.

    Diet,  Eat well, I juice, Take vitamins, and if I use caffeine I used green tea. I also purify spring water for drinking and make a point of looking after my body.

    I get tired, I've produced 32 songs , written played, sung, composed, mixed mastered, paid for all from my bed room. It's taken 6 years, cost me marriage a daughter which I only see once every 3 months and It's kept me poor. At saying that I know I eat better then two thirds of the world so I can't ever complain. I moved to a place were it rains and snows 9 months of the year so I could keep going.

    When ever I am about to give up and I think about it monthly I look at some of the things I have achieved and they are beyond what I could ever do dieing in a day job.

    Who ever said doing what you want sudden everything becomes easy was lieng,  its not.  Reason being your confronted by your self. Which is a far more diverse, shape shifting enemy then anything in the world you will encounter.

    Also your confronted by inertia, the primitives people used to call it Gana. They would take a task such as digging a hole then when they could not find the inspiration to keep doing it they would sit down and wait till their Gana had returned. They found one way to muster this Gana was ritual, or fear, or reward...take your pick.

    You have to persuade your psyche to donate the necessary force to allow you to go forward...in short. And make no mistake there is always a way forward. But it's temperamental you need to know what makes you tick, what makes you work.

    I also find it helps if you watch a doco on someone that has done something well. I like to watch great directors. You get to see what they go through producing great art. It costs, it's not for free.

     

    It's one thing to be on the path it is altogether another to stay on the path. I found staying on the path is the real balancing act and for me is a balancing act.

     

    All the little voices that tell you your no good, you suck, you wasting your time, you can't keep it up...the list goes on...we all get them or have had them at some point.

     

    http://fora.tv/2009/01/15/Malcolm_Gladwell_at_City_Arts__Lectures

    It's 2 AM and I'm now going to work on this song which I have been avoiding for the last 6 hours..:-)

     

    Sorry for any typos , I know there will be some.

     

  • Some wonderful, inspiring posts here.  I suppose the concept I still struggle with is "what's the point?" however.  Yes, writing is the best way to break a slump, just like hitting is the best way to beat a slump in baseball.  However, if it seems like composing isn't worth the effort, perhaps it isn't.  Maybe those little voices are little angels instead of little demons.

     

    So, yes, writing every day regardless may help to break out of that feeling, but maybe that feeling is a good one that I should heed?  Questions I can only answer myself I suppose. 

  • Well, Tombo.

    It is your decision and your life.

    Now I feel I need to say this.  Don't think writer's block goes away by itself.  If it is writer's block then you take a short break of a few days, then you write something and you keep on writing!  

    Imagine you are this kid who always drives with training wheels.  You took off the training wheels you are the one pushing yourself to write till your inner music flows.

     

    Only you can answer if the process is worth it?  Why?  Do you have better deal waiting if you don't do it? Do you have another passion that competes with composing music? Do you think you have more music in you?

    Tombo Rombo said:

    Some wonderful, inspiring posts here.  I suppose the concept I still struggle with is "what's the point?" however.  Yes, writing is the best way to break a slump, just like hitting is the best way to beat a slump in baseball.  However, if it seems like composing isn't worth the effort, perhaps it isn't.  Maybe those little voices are little angels instead of little demons.

     

    So, yes, writing every day regardless may help to break out of that feeling, but maybe that feeling is a good one that I should heed?  Questions I can only answer myself I suppose. 

    Kick in the pants
    Its been 7 months or so since I have written a lick of music.  I have some good opportunities to receive performances if I could just write something…
  • I don't have writer's block, but I certainly do procrastinate. It's stupid, because once I sit down and begin doing music- playing my guitar or reviewing pieces of my music in my DAW, etc., then I get excited by it, my energy level goes up, and off we go!  The feedback process is complex. You can invent a melody and think, 'Oh, the same ole crap, again', or 'Hey, that's ALMOST good.' The negative feedback could be based on how I'm feeling at that moment in time. It could be negative because of a feeling of 'unworthiness' or low self-esteem. There must be a high percent of positive self-feedback for the composing process to continue.

    Positive Self-Feedback- Years ago, I was a painter. Oils on canvas. A lot of it was experimental and some of it was realism like landscapes and still life. I didn't sell very much. The point is- I might spend 40 hours on a large painting. I'd look at the finished piece and decide it was NOT very good. I was satisfied with my work maybe 20% of the time. It was a bad ratio of satisfaction and contentment.  During my painting years, I would use music as a relaxing diversion. I stopped painting. I was not sure what I was doing wrong. (critiques would've helped me) I gave up painting because I was mostly dissatisfied by the process and the results. The negatives out-weighed the positives.

     

    The same issues pop up in all of the arts. I find music to be much more enjoyable. I'm more satisfied with the results. Enjoyment and satisfaction are key elements for me. If I was dissatisfied with 90% of my compositions, I would probably stop composing.

    I've done some creative writing and when you hit a 'block' the solution is the same as with composing music. You sit down and spew out ideas. You think, 'I am going to just write anything, although it may be all crap.'

    Ideas will come out,  and you might think it's the same old crap. As you do it, you might think, 'Ha, this is the same junk.' What usually happens is you look at the crap the following day and you realize that 10% or more of it, is actually quite good and can form the core of a good novel or a good musical composition.

    How do we attain that stage of competence and satisfaction? By following your heart and allowing your gut to determine what is good and what is not. It's always a balancing act to live with self-criticism and self-love. One requires honesty and the other acceptance. These are BIG issues that go beyond the mechanics of creating music.



  • Doug Lauber said:

    I don't have writer's block, but I certainly do procrastinate. It's stupid, because once I sit down and begin doing music- playing my guitar or reviewing pieces of my music in my DAW, etc., then I get excited by it, my energy level goes up, and off we go!  The feedback process is complex. You can invent a melody and think, 'Oh, the same ole crap, again', or 'Hey, that's ALMOST good.' The negative feedback could be based on how I'm feeling at that moment in time. It could be negative because of a feeling of 'unworthiness' or low self-esteem. There must be a high percent of positive self-feedback for the composing process to continue.

    Positive Self-Feedback- Years ago, I was a painter. Oils on canvas. A lot of it was experimental and some of it was realism like landscapes and still life. I didn't sell very much. The point is- I might spend 40 hours on a large painting. I'd look at the finished piece and decide it was NOT very good. I was satisfied with my work maybe 20% of the time. It was a bad ratio of satisfaction and contentment.  During my painting years, I would use music as a relaxing diversion. I stopped painting. I was not sure what I was doing wrong. (critiques would've helped me) I gave up painting because I was mostly unsatisfied by the process and the results. The negatives out-weighed the positives.

     

    The same issues pop up in all of the arts. I find music to be much more enjoyable. I'm more satisfied with the results. Enjoyment and satisfaction are key elements for me. If I was dissatisfied with 90% of my compositions, I would probably stop composing.

    I've done some creative writing and when you hit a 'block' the solution is the same as with composing music. You sit down and spew out ideas. You think, 'I am going to just write anything, although it may be all crap.'

    Idea will come out,  and you might think it's the same old crap. As you do it, you might think, 'Ha, this is the same junk.' What usually happens is you look at the crap the following day and you realize that 10% or more of it, is actually quite good and can form the core of a good novel or a good musical composition.

    How do we attain that stage of competence and satisfaction? By following your heart and allowing your gut to determine what is good and what is not. It's always a balancing act to live with self-criticism and self-love. One requires honesty and the other acceptance. These are BIG issues that go beyond the mechanics of creating music.

     

    Doug you really hit the nail on the head..:-)

     

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