Friday, April 30, 2010

Uncharted Waters

I really don’t like it when I can’t follow my own advice. I’ve been avoiding blank pages like the plague. And I have a lot of writing that must be done. When I’ve somehow allowed myself to be out of the habit of the daily stare down, I often feel that the solution is to make myself a schedule. I go to a quiet place, and draw up a chart with days across the top and hours down the left-hand side. I neatly fill in times for composing, piano practice, teaching, marketing and music biz stuff, exercise and writing. I step away from my creation and say, “That is good.”

The next day, I wake up, smell the coffee, eat my breakfast and take a look at the chart with new determination. It’s 8:00, and today’s chart says I am to spend 30 minutes writing before I start composing. Do I do what is on the chart? Pretty much never. It’s like I’m saying, “Hmmph, no one’s gonna tell ME what to do.” Being my own boss, sometimes, I don’t want to listen to the boss.

I get things done, but I go out of order. I intend to practice, but then I get a song idea and start working on that. I intend to do paperwork and biz stuff, but I realize we’re out of Delaney’s favorite after-school snack and she’ll kill me if I don’t have it in the fridge waiting for her. Or maybe I intend to write words for 30minutes but it turns into an hour and a half and I miss my practice time. Or perhaps I want to make a witty response to a facebook post and end up wasting precious minutes perfecting a two-sentence email.

The thing is, during the act of creating, one never knows exactly how long it will take for the idea to hit, and how long it will take to work the idea out. Sometimes a composition is finished in two days. Sometimes, two years. To try to fit dreamy, creative thinking time into a rigid schedule often ends up being fruitless (for me, at least.)

Today I spent time with my friend P.J., as he designed a logo for one of my projects. I love being beside him when he works, watching the creative process unfold. Fonts were toyed with, then shapes and colors and sizes. He is always “in the zone,” quietly making decisions that always seem right. I didn’t know how long it would take, and I didn’t care, because it was a process that should not be rushed.

Even though I had the urge, I held back on my chart design this morning. Maybe some of you have suggestions on how to at least spend a bit of time on all the different projects that need attention in a 24-hour period. Or an 8-hour period. Or a 2-hour period if that’s all that is available.

Oh, gee, look at the time. . .


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