this video also changed my life
Updated: Jul 9, 2018
(Let me preface this by saying that most of what resonates with me in this video is him talking about songwriting. There's obviously more to building a successful career than just to "be nice, write songs, and do gigs.")
It was the latter half of the summer of 2015 when I first saw this video, probably in August or September. I was frustrated at the time because I didn't have a lot of songs and I knew I had things to say.
I would spend a month(s) trying to hash out one song. Or I would spend weeks staring at an empty page because I had a cool guitar progression and didn't want to fuck it up with cheesy lyrics.
I saw this video and everything suddenly made sense, which is funny, because nothing about it is revolutionary. He's not saying anything that hasn't been said before. It doesn't take a genius to say that the more you do something the better you'll get at it.
It just made me realize I was so attached to my ego and so concerned with keeping the songwriting process holy or whatever that I was afraid of writing a bad song. I wanted everything that I touched (wrote) to turn to gold. It also made me realize that there's no such thing as 'songwriter's block' - there's only fear of writing a bad song.
Again, a lot of the people that I show this video to don't really care for it, and that's okay. Everyone finds his/her own truth and no one can or should get in the way of that.
I was talking to my friend Adam Black of Common Hours about this video a month or two ago. He pointed out that when he sees people do this, specifically when people try the 'song-a-week' challenge, their new songs just aren't as good. I totally get that, but the key is to not show people your bad songs. You've got to write the bad songs and forget about them because you know they're bad. I look through old notebooks of mine and I don't even remember writing half of the songs. I knew they were bad so I just finished them, considered that my 'workout' for the day, and moved on. Eventually some good songs came out, some songs that I never would have written if I had just waited for the inspiration. Some of those songs are going to be on my upcoming EP, and pretty much all of the songs I've written since have come from this practice, directly or indirectly.
The real problem with this concept is song management. If you write a song every day for a month, you'll probably come up with 3 or 4 good ones. If you keep this up, you'll find yourself with more songs (good songs) than you know what to do with. This is the stage I've been at for a while now, which is why I've spent the past few months learning about self-recording and mixing and releasing. I have a backlog of material that I need to release so I can start focusing on writing again.
And then, of course, you've got to worry about making music videos and booking/playing shows and instagram and promoting your releases and building a fan-base and booking tours. And don't forget about, you know, practicing and actually getting better at your instrument(s). There's a lot of stuff to do.
So, uh... yeah. I guess that's what I wanted to say.
Thanks for reading and I hope you have a great day.