I just re-listened to an episode from a great series on productivity on the School Sucks Project Podcast. Quick note on School Sucks. This is a podcast I’ve been returning to over and over for the past 3 years. It’s scope is satisfyingly thorough, and the host, Brett Veinotte has done a tremendous job of building a dynamic, thoughtful resource for intellectual self defense, discovery, and reliance. I’ve developed a habit (irony unintentional) of gorging on all new content at SSP until I get bored, mildly irritated by Brett’s interviewing manner, or turned off by an episode’s direction. Then after about 2 months, my craving for intellectual interpretation of the insanity that is our current world returns and I consume into the same pattern.
If you notice the publish date of this particular episode, you’ll see it was just under a year ago. About that time last year, I made some resolutions. My first, and most important was:
Make an album.
I had a lot of trouble deciding between art and music throughout my 20s. Art was an organic, beautiful extension of my physical being that would allow me to explore the limits of visual interpretation. Music was always not far behind, articulating the noise of the everyday into a new, harmonious channel of energy. I could do both endlessly, but never at the same time. I talked to a life coach. She helped me identify this binary and learn to focus on just one. I chose music.
I’ve wanted to make an album since making a fully produced electronic track became a realization on my eMac in college. The ability was innate, but the hardware was always lacking. With Garageband, I could finally breakout of the singer-songwriter cliche I was tied to when I obsessively played my acoustic guitar for months at a time. Suddenly, I could explore my voice in a fully musical way. Impossible ideas were now possible. 10 years later, I’ve been honing this craft to an extremely precise degree (with Live now. Not with Garageband. Because, fuck that shit).
As I alluded to earlier though, these disciplines of art and music were mutually exclusive. I couldn’t invest my entire being into one without totally neglecting the other. Being a creature of instant expectation, solution, and gratification, I also could never get a project to come to complete fruition. Things were always half done. When a project got really exciting, I worked on it for hours without even noticing. As soon as I had to make a concentrated effort, I distracted myself and switched disciplines.
Interestingly, I got pretty far with both. You do anything for 10 years, and you can make some headway. I had fantastic ideas. I made some really great sketches. I even completed some things. But when I turned 30, I knew I hadn’t even come close to my potential. Where was that incredible album? Why was I getting older, but the latest, super talented breakout musicians were all staying 23? How did they figure it all out so quickly? I haven’t made the album yet for a lot of reasons. But I did get a lot of music related things done in 2016. Here is a short list:
- Had my first ever professional production of one of my songs
- Made a website for my musical persona: Hweeqo
- Made a Facebook page for my musical persona
- Made a whole bevy of videos and recordings of me performing my own music
- Played 6 shows, including one in Hong Kong
- Articulated and completed 8 whole songs to be recorded for my first album
- Wrote lyrics! I actually wrote lyrics!
- Did some thorough research into Kickstarter and am actively planning at least 6 months in advance for this album-something I don’t think I’ve ever done in my life
That said, my habits have been some of the biggest detriments to me advancing further in my aspirations. Just an example: I have yet to finish a book in the past 5 years (with the exception of Graham Hancock’s Fingerprints of the Gods because that book was goddamn RIVETING). I read and read, even with extreme interest, then get to the last couple of chapters, and decide I got the gist of the book. Everything’s cool. This is a trend. I tend to get almost done with so many things, and then just conveniently find something to distract me.
Hence, the whole point of this blog series. 7 days is not a hard goal. These first two posts have been on the weekend, so its been pretty easy so far. Today is Sunday. If I know anything about myself, I will absolutely not want to write a blog on Tuesday or Wednesday. I will make it all about the work, and stress myself out before anything even happens. However, I planned for this. I will engage my mindset all week, and really make this happen. This is still a goal that can fail, but the blog is my social contract to see it through. If I can do this, I can push myself to make that album this year.