I am reading Hugh McLeod’s “Ignore Everybody – And 39 Other Keys to Creativity” at the behest of Derek Sivers (of CD BABY fame, most notably).
He asked me to consider how I might apply (or not apply) McLeod’s creativity tips to my own musical endeavors.
As I alluded to previously, some of these tips don’t really work for me. For example, McLeod says don’t pursue “Inspiration” but rather wait for it to come along. I can’t do that. I understand where it comes from in McLeod’s view. He is a proponent of not quitting your day job so that you are not reliant on your art for livelihood. There’s merit in that.
However, for many people, myself included, art is livelihood, for better or worse. I am for the time being “self-employed” which is a fancy word for “unemployed.” I like it that way. I want to have a day job, but I decided long ago not to sacrifice my principles or do it out of fear, so I am waiting for the right opportunity to come along. I would rather wait for the right day job than wait for inspiration. I am a workaholic when it comes to music, and I don’t have a choice but to pursue the muse wherever he may be.
That said, there are other tips in this book I embrace. #3 is “Put in the hours.” My girlfriend can attest that I definitely do this. If I am not eating or sleeping, I am ROCKING. It’s what I love to do. I make time for a social life by necessity. I can get too worked up if I do not schedule relaxation time into my week. But it is all part of the plan.
I also believe strongly that you have to pursue your OWN path when it comes to art. I am a member of both taxi.com and broadjam.com. These song writing brokerage firms try to find opportunities for new song writers to place songs. It’s a real pain in the ass, because today’s music SUCKS! But the only way to get placed is to accommodate the needs of the A&R people looking for bland, unoffensive drivel. That’s not what my songs are about.
I’ve gotten around this problem in some ways by partitioning my song writing into “for art” and “for prostitution.” Suffice to say, I hang on to what I consider is my best work and let THE MAN have the rest. I also don’t rely on song writing for income. I perform live and teach for that, as well as write for other people.
Well, I have band practice right now, as a matter of fact, so I will have to finish this later tonight.