So I’ve recently put the more-or-less finishing touches on a piece that I wrote in under a month (that doesn’t include “thought time,” which is probably closer to six months). The piece I finished just before this one, on the other hand, involved six months of actual composition and probably a year of “thought time.” Paradoxically, my experience to date has been that writing music gets harder as I’ve gotten better at it, but this latest piece doesn’t support that conclusion; it just kind of plopped right out. Rather than be pleased that I’ve executed a creative vision quickly and confidently, I’m (naturally) terrified that I’m clinging to some fluent but shallow compositional facility that the last few pieces have taught me. That’s what writing music has reduced me to: The suspicion that I might have done a good job is itself enough to threaten my mental health. It’s maddening. Dig:
If you want to get better at writing music, you have to practice.
If you practice, writing music gets easier to do.
If writing music is easy, you’re probably not exercising your full potential.
If you’re not reaching your full compositional potential, you need to get better at writing music.
What am I supposed to do with this? Maybe I should go back to the piece I put together so quickly and try to take some bigger risks with it. Maybe I should just put it away for a while and come back to it with clearer critical eyesight—the line between “effortless” and “lazy,” a boundary much toiled over by indie rockers, is difficult to see sometimes. Maybe I should just take a proverbial chill pill. Advice?