Writing Can Be Hard Work

It really can, but it doesn’t have to be.

Ben Franklin said, “Either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing about.”

Songwriting, lyric writing, composing, even writing for a blog. With some time, some focus, and some inspiration, writing doesn’t have to be a chore, and it comes more naturally with time.

Sometimes, the words or notes just don’t come. That’s when we have to get up and get some words or notes. This week, I’ve found it difficult to just muster up something to write about. So, I’m writing about writing. I know I should write, so I’m writing. If we close out the distractions and just focus on what we want to say, eventually the words will start to come (or rather, we’ll start to get some words). Pick something you care about and write about it. No one might ever see it, but it might do some good just to write about it.

When we write, we release. When we release, we free ourselves of stress and worry. Writing has always been a good way of documenting my thoughts; getting them on paper helps me see them more clearly than if they were just in my head.

How you write is up to you; just write. Write a note, write a letter, write a song, write a poem, write anything. Just write.

And as always, thanks for listening. ¶

Back in the Studio + Thoughts on Creativity

Why yes, I am back in the studio. I have recorded a rough cut of a new song, and I’ll be fleshing things out in the next few days (maybe even the next few hours).

This prompts me to write something about inspiration and creativity:

Recently, I’ve been reading some articles and posts by James Clear, and I came across his post on “the myth of creative inspiration“, essentially stating that artists don’t wait for motivation, they stick to a strict schedule instead.

Now, Mr. Clear is an entrepreneur, weightlifter, photographer, and motivational speaker, but he offers some great advice for artists and musicians (and people in general) about creativity. He argues that we can’t just create when the moment strikes, we have to put in a volume of work on a regular basis and stick to it. You see, we’ll never create the good stuff unless we create on a regular basis. As he states, “the schedule is the system that makes your goals a reality.” Further, “If you don’t set a schedule for yourself, then your only option is to rely on motivation.”

This is, to my dismay, where I fall off. It seems that as of late, I come home from work exhausted, and I am just waiting for the weekend. When the weekend comes, I sleep late, have a lazy morning while Cindy’s at work, then we spend some quality time together in the afternoon/evening. Same goes for Sunday. It’s difficult enough to find time to create, but what Mr. Clear says makes so much sense.

So, what am I to do? Creating doesn’t have to be about creating something great: this is where I tend to talk myself out of creating. Creating can be just as much about the junk as it is about the good stuff. To quote Mr. Clear:

[Y]ou have to give yourself permission to grind through the occasional days of below average work because it’s the price you have to pay to get to excellent work.

Creativity is as much about the end result as it is about the journey.

And as always, thanks for listening.

Blowing the dust off…

After seven months (really, seven months!?), I’m back. A much-needed hiatus helped to spark the creativity again.

A few things will change: first of all, I’m not going to even try to commit to twice a week. I’ll do once a week, devoting Sundays to my “blog and stuff” task list.

Second, I’m exploring the idea of doing weekly (or monthly) videos where I do a “Cover of the Week”.

Third, I’ve got some ideas for songs that will flesh out in the coming weeks and months, but no promises.

I feel like I have this head full of knowledge that’s just dying to get out, and not just about music. I am also a visual designer, developer, and marketer, and over the last few years, I have learned A LOT about best practices, tips and tricks, and techniques for these disciplines. I’m going to get some of this out of my head in the coming weeks and months in the form of additional blogs.

A brief update, I know, but we’ll see how things go over the next few weeks.

And as always, thanks for listening. ¶

I Have an Idea…

…for a new song.

Now, I know it’s been a little while since my last post. School is almost finished, which means that I’m headed into the world of finals. I have two classes this term, which is plenty, since I also have a full-time’s worth of work job, but nonetheless, a new idea has planted a bug in my head.

When we are confronted with some sort of animosity, negative experience, or negative feelings, we tend to push them away at first. We deny the negative experience at first. Think of when someone close to us dies, we lose our job, or we suffer some sort of negative experience that affects us to the core of our being. We don’t want to deal with those feelings; we might even mask it by trying to appear to be positive.

That’s not healthy after a while. Sure, it might be healthy from a psychological standpoint, since we grieve in stages, but we can’t stay there forever. We have to eventually deal with those feelings. This new song will be about how we deal with those feelings.

“It’s not about what you feel/It’s about how you deal”

is a line that I’m thinking will be the theme of the song. We can feel angry at someone—that’s human. How we deal with those feelings is what matters.

On another note, I have some exciting news. I’ll be playing at Maplewood Coffee next Saturday with a few other musicians in an “open-mic” style—my time is still not finalized, but I’m hoping to get it from 7:30–7:50pm.

Some exciting and unexpected things might be coming my way this year, and I’ll be excited to share them with you. Keep your eyes peeled: 2014 is going to be a great year.

And as always, thanks for listening. ¶


Music Video Like + Update

How about them apples?

I wish I had more of an update, but this past week has been devoted to school. It’s paying off, but yeah, music hasn’t been a top priority this week. However, I am hoping that will change this coming week. I’m headed back into the “writing room” and I hope to start recording some videos (not music videos—yet).

We’ll see where this takes. Remember, “What Am I Gonna Do” is available for free download.

I’ll be back later this week, and as always, thanks for listening. ¶

Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!

It’s snowing in the Portland area! My lovely wife and I have our delicious coffee, and It just now lightened up (literally), so I thought I would post this video:

On another note, I’ve uploaded “What Am I Gonna Do” to ReverbNation, where anyone can stream it (you can also stream it below):

Remember, “What Am I Gonna Do” is also available for free download (or donation).

It’s a quick update today, but I hope you’ll find lots of things to do today.  My lovely wife and I are going to cheek out “Anchorman 2″ today. :)

Have a great weekend, and as always, thanks for listening. ¶

What Am I Gonna Do: New Song Release

What Am I Gonna Do: New Song Release

Today I have some pretty big news: I am releasing a new song. Yes! Today! For the first time this year! This is a song called “What Am I Gonna Do”, a ballad that mourns the loss of a relationship and the loss of a home: a place of familiarity, a place of solace and rest. For a limited time, “What Am I Gonna Do” is available for free download (but please consider making a donation).

I am super excited about this single release. This song has a chord progression that I discovered a while ago: Em – Bb – F#dim7 – B7 (used in the chorus). When I write a song, I try to put an unexpected chord somewhere in the song, this one being Bb. This is also a song that breaks away from my normal process: I usually write the music after the lyrics have been written. This time, I wrote the lyrics after writing the music. The jury’s still out on whether I like this way better.

It’s easy to write a song about happiness, but writing about sorrow can be just as easy. When a relationship ends, a part of you goes with that person; a part of you is lost to that person. That was the essence of what I was trying to capture in this song. The second verse says:

Packing up your things and shoving them in your car
Makes it easy for the pain to sink in.
With each piece I’m moving, I’m losing a part of me,
Where could we have gone so wrong?

Please leave a comment or send me some feedback letting me know what you think of it. Enjoy the song, and as always, thanks for listening. ¶