December 29, 2019
I’ve been spending most of my days this past week alone in my room. My only objective is to write as many songs as I can before January 4th. I’ve come up with some ideas I’m excited about and even fleshed out some demos:
But… I’ve wasted a lot of time as well. It’s funny: the intermittency of creativity.
Sometimes it just flows and everything makes sense. I can have an idea and all the details seem deterministic, just waiting for me to do the work and nothing distracts me.
Other times I find it impossible to concentrate on a thought: getting distracted with knees always feeling like they need popped or becoming obsessed with thinking that one ear can hear better than the other. Or maybe I can focus on the idea’s problems, but none of the solutions make sense: like staring at a pictionary drawing of a “sweater” but being completely unable to make the connection. Or maybe I want to take a break and watch a Billy Corgan interview, but after that I somehow get sucked into watching a few clips of Eric Andre meme on celebrities, and then some clips of LivePD. A few hours go by, and I hate myself a little more.
Being in an engineering career, a Weidinger, and a lifelong obsessive optimizer, I’m chronically ridden with the guilt of not being 100% productive 100% of the time. When my own father wasn’t working 70 hours a week in real estate, he was making and completing todo lists for the few hours of “free time” he had on a Sunday evening. Even though I never wanted to “be my dad,” that culture is the only thing I know. It has services and disservices. And yes, I’m going to get some therapy real soon.
If I had one formula that I hope to create related to the music “work” that I do in this lifetime, it’s that I get to the point where I can put X amount of hours in and get Y amount of satisfactory work done. And I feel like a major component in achieving that is developing a stronger ability to think and write without judgement.
To me, creating non-judgementally is about working on something without worrying about the context. It’s about “letting it happen.” It means trusting your intuition. It’s having this 1-on-1 connection with the idea to the point that nothing else matters: people, obligations, problems, copyrights, originality, offending people, feeling stupid, worrying it’s too embarassing or personal, etc.
In that moment of creation, any reservation can be fatal to the flow. In my experience, if you start to doubt yourself, you’ll start looking for ways to distract yourself. The creative environment that you create for yourself needs to feel safe. You can’t be afraid to create mistakes. You can’t be afraid to create.
The artists that I look up to were not afraid to make a lot of stuff. Apparently, Picasso made 50,000 artworks. Philip Glass continues to compose numerous film scores / concert works / and many other musical art pieces every year. Kur(d)t Cobain wrote a ton of poetry, made drawings, drew comics, i.e. in general expressed himself very honestly and recorded it all in journals in his very short life. And coming from a completely different field, Luther Burbank cultivated hundreds of varieties of plants throughout the course of his life.
Despite all of these folk’s prolificness, the number of things that actually made their mark/career is low in comparison. In other words, even if they are known for an aesethic, a few compositions / pop songs, or the “French Fry” potato, they created so much more.
I think that’s the way to do it.
Written by Joseph Weidinger.