The Artist’s Way: Week 10

Days I did my morning pages: 6/7

I’ve been doing what I call my ‘Song pages’ every day too. New ground, new ideas, new levels of involvement. Had an interesting breakthrough on one song the other day by forcing myself to continue and over-ride the (cowardly) urge to stop, to avoid what they call a ‘creative U-turn’. I forced myself to do everything my head was thinking of, however pointless or menial it seemed at first. I’m glad I did, because once a task has been cleared, another idea pops up right behind it. It was useful. I ended up doing 3 pages that day and am nearly finished the song I think.

It’s funny, just when I thought I was being really cool and hardcore with the pages I read in the book that it’s a lot easier to get people to do the pages than it is the artist dates. Gulp. I suppose part of that is that I don’t have to go anywhere to do my pages, but it unavoidably led me to another realisation.

I think I’ve come to the end of another growth or learning curve and need to step up to another. I’m looking forward more. Doing the pages and writing, I’m not rewarding myself enough or giving myself little treats and rewards as much as I should be.

It’s not enough to just be creative and do creative tasks I’m supposed to. I have to play with them and actively engage in making them fun. I know what my work load is going to involve for the next 6 months to a year at least, and simply knowing that can make it somewhat boring or turn it into drudgery, so I have to devise ways to keep myself entertained, keep some free time to include spontaneous acts of freewheeling and fanciful detours, distractions, more fun and more decorations everywhere. I feel as though up to now and until the end of the course I’ve been building a solid frame work and a base for myself to continue being consistently creative without being fragile or subject to any winds of fortune or favour – I’m going to be creating for myself regardless of circumstance. What is next is to keep it up but to keep playing with it all and adding more twists to the everyday to prevent anything from becoming mundane.

 

 

Artist Date:

I didn’t do it alone, but I’m going to count it because it recharged me somewhat and was purely for the pleasure and entertainment of my artistic side. I invited a whole bunch of musicians over for a jam. Funnily enough it ended up as just me and a friend of mine playing guitar and some inept drumming on both our parts.

I mentioned the prospect of it and have been sounding people out about it for ages and everyone is always saying ‘Yeah, definitely, call me,’ and then on the day it just didn’t happen that way, but it worked out for the best actually. We had a good talk and good fun playing which is what it’s all about.

It’s been too long since I’d last done that. Too often I’ve only been playing in scenarios where everyone is tied to some sort of (often imaginary) schedule and pressure is on to deliver magic etc at every opportunity and no time is dedicated to just experimenting and trying to find a groove with each other as people, or exploring musical tangents that might not have a ‘use’. Being in bands where this thing happens can be a huge drain on incentive momentum, morale and enthusiasm. I’ve always been of the opinion that bands should have dedicated time at every rehearsal to just make some noise together of any kind and invent weird and wonderful or even dreadful music. Each exploration brings back new experiences even if that is the knowledge that jungle-funk-tango-punk doesn’t quite sound as good as the title suggests.

It has been a very busy week outside of trying to do creative things so not a lot else to report on that front. I think I’ve figured that the trick with me is just to keep doing things differently each time and switch them around to keep me from being to set in a certain way of doing things.

I’ve realized a number of erroneous habits I have that I’ve started to avoid doing simply because the nature of these bad habits irritates the hell out of me and so once I’m aware of it I start to gravitate away from them. I’m not spending as much time wasting my life on the internet anymore, or finding pointless tasks to do in order to avoid doing more serious, pressing or intimidating ones.

One area of progress I’ve made is that I finished sorting out all my songs and song sheets into tidy folders so that they are all easily accessible when I want to look them up or work on something.

Over the years I’ve accumulated sheets upon sheets of paper filled with lyric drafts and song ideas etc and I’ve got them split up now broadly in two giant ringbinders, with alphabetical separators.

The first folder is for all my finished songs and their accompanying sheets, because some of my songs went through about fifty-something different versions and revisions before being finished and I try to keep them all for reference/posterity/proof of authorship etc.

The other one where I keep all the started songs that I haven’t finished, and there are lots of them, some that I got stuck with, some that I needed distance and perspective on, some that I just started but didn’t make time to finish properly. I’ve had this kind of filing system in place for a while, but it just needed refining and tidying. My room and work area no longer has piles of loose papers and stray sheets stacked high.

Also, I thought I’d treat myself to some nice shiny alphabetical dividers, some of those plastic sheet covers to keep all my pages tidy and together and some other new stationary. I hate writing with cheap/found/borrowed pens that don’t write properly and how that frustration can take you out of the flow of writing. So I went and bought a pack of brand new ball point pens. It’s so funny how little things like that can make such a positive difference to your working environment and general well-being. It’s as if we assume that we are above such petty material concerns and think we should always make do with what we have, after all, there are people out there in the world who can’t afford such luxuries and make do with simply memorizing things rather than writing them down… and so on. But it all has a positive effect.

I’m coming to the end of the course and feel like it has allowed me to discover the way I work, what is good for me, and how to maintain and look after myself in the best way possible for the future.

Let’s see what they have in store for the last two weeks.

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2 Responses to “The Artist’s Way: Week 10”

  1. God, I love stationary too. And inept drumming!

  2. 😀 SImple pleasures, eh?

    Inept drumming is probably the way that we could make the quickest and easiest money in music. Just dress it up right and take it on down to Hoxton.

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