I’m going to be honest: I haven’t completed a piece of music since June.
It takes me, on average, a month to write a song. But a song can take me up to six months to write, if I am not working on it regularly. Good thing I don’t have a quota, right?
I like and dislike aspects of my creative process. I like that I am quite picky when it comes to how I write. For example, I despise cliches, over-repetitions, and over-obvious harmonic progressions. So if I catch myself doing any of these, I will start editing, usually immediately. I like this quality because it ensures that my writing is truly original.
However, this same quality has a dark side to it, and that can be the feeling that nothing is quite good enough. I have written whole verses before, only to botch them completely and start again. Come to think of it, I’ve thrown away whole songs too. Editing too much can lead to a kind of creative obsessive compulsive disorder.
I’m sure every great artist, unless they’re Mozart, has their versions of being overly hard on themselves when it comes to their work. This, as I’ve just illustrated, can be good, but if not tempered, can lead to a vacuum of non-productivity.
Another reason for my extended period of low output might be that my interests have shifted somewhat over the past couple of months to other “pockets.” This blog, to name just one example, has become a main focus and a source of joy, one that I am inspired to be disciplined about. Perhaps songwriting, for better or worse, has taken a back seat.
I don’t see this as a bad thing, though. I am sure that I will come back to it – I already have, actually. And I am convinced that the time away was spent doing things which will actually enrich my songs. But to really get the most out of writing music, I will have to see it much like I see this blog – as a way to express myself and make sense of things in my life.
Once I see it like that, the filter might start to not be so invasive, because it will recognize the songwriting as a practice, and not a quest for perfection. Or so I hope.