Making something is hard. Sometimes really hard (like, it just seems impossible) – you desperately look for the inspiration, the spark that will get you going, and you just can’t find it. I am going through this now, and it’s driving me fucking crazy. I keep thinking “I’m not done yet,” and I really feel that’s true. I must have a hundred different bits and pieces of music, some of which are really good, but when it comes to finishing it, I feel frozen. I have hundreds of my favorite songs on my iPhone, along with the four albums I produced for my record label Oddball Musicworks. Sometimes I will put it in shuffle mode and when one of my old tunes comes up, I listen and think “Who was that guy?”
Now, I should say that I’ve been through this before. I distinctly remember when I was working on my last record, thinking “there is no way this is going to be as good as my first record.” And yet, it turned out better. This is of course only my opinion, but I am my harshest critic – so if I feel that way that’s all that really matters to me. And because there are several years between these records, I am a different person, so it’s not unnatural to look back and not really recognize yourself as who you are now.
And of course, “writers block” is nothing new. But writing, performing, and recording music is an extremely multi-disciplinary and time consuming endeavor. If you get lost going down the wrong road you can waste a whole lot of time. Creating art for yourself is a very different thing from doing “work on demand.” Things are much simpler when someone else hires you to do something – now it is not about you, it is about craft. It’s about helping this other person or entity realize their vision…
But when the canvas is totally blank, and there is no deadline staring you down, it becomes another matter entirely. Now there is an empty universe waiting for you to fill it.
What universe are you going to create?