Saturday, August 22, 2009

Quantity Can Lead to Quality

It's funny how the subject of creativity can lead to all sorts of opinions. The common theme is perfectionism with a lot of artists. We strive to create our best work (which we should), and we pride ourselves on the quality of the work, nurturing it from birth and giving it the attention it needs to flourish commercially. It can become a frustrating task though, when that perfectionism gets in the way and any creative flow becomes stifled much like a clogged sink drain. I don't know if there are any budding poets or songwriters among you, but a common theme has emerged from conference seminars and other artist experiences that has helped me so I thought I'd share a few snippets with you...

"Don't get precious with the lyrics." In other words, quit putting such a high value on your songs or phrases.

"Show, don't tell." Find different ways to say something that's been said before.

"Don't let your patterns become your prisons."

There's about a million other things that have been a refresher for me and greatly helpful in triggering the well to flow freely again. But I found this updated bio from Mute Math's new CD Armistice that particularly confirmed the message that's been speaking at me the last few weeks regarding writing. In this case, they were so invested in their songs it kept them from moving forward with fresher material. Everyone keeps emphasizing quality over quantity with lots of things, but in the realm of songwriting, really the only way to get better at it is to just keep doing it. Write song after song after song, even if it sucks. ("Dare to suck" is the other motto). When you stop self-editing, ideas gush out like free flowing rivers and it even becomes fun again!

I share this not as the teacher but as the student that needs new classes every once in a while to stay motivated in my work. How freeing it is to shelves songs when they're not working. It was the reason I was able to write without distractions every day while in Springfield. This week has been more about laying down tracks, but I can hardly wait to put pen to paper again...

1 comment:

luckyduck said...

That's an interesting perspective. Thanks for sharing your artistic process.