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October 12, 2014Why I’m making music again

OK, there’s actually few good reasons why I’ve started making music (after taking a five year break).

Firstly, I spent way too much money over the summer (doesn’t everyone?). Staying at home and writing tunes keeps the bank balance in the black.

Secondly, I’ve seen some pretty inspiring stuff lately, from the new Nick Cave movie to the excellent Fort Process festival on the south coast, a day filled with experimental art and sound and noise.

But the real reason? Because I’m terrible at it.

And no, I’m not particularly trying to get better, either (although you’d hope that the more I practice, the better I get).

The reason is because there’s absolutely no pressure.

I’m free to suck.

I’ve got to admit to feeling frustrated lately. I spend ten, sometimes twelve hours a day writing — and that’s just for work. It’s my job and I’m paid handsomely for it.

So when I write, even when it’s for personal reasons, there’s pressure to perform. From me, from the people who read my work. ‘You’re a writer / creative, why isn’t your writing always good?’

In fact, I’ve even had trouble writing personal blog posts because of this — what if they’re not up to my usual standard?

I guess you could say I needed to do something before writer’s block kicked in.

I needed another creative outlet. One where there was no pressure. My drawing — as anyone who’s seen my scamps will tell you — is kindergarten level and to be honest with you, every time I’ve tried to improve I’ve wanted to snap my pencils in frustration.

But luckily a couple of good friends taught me the absolute basics of music production when I was younger and even though I haven’t written anything new in over five years, luckily these days the computer does a lot of it for you, as this hilarious video from South Park demonstrates.

So I’ve spent the last couple of weeks writing music. Bad music. Though I am slowly getting better. And in discovering a new creative outlet, I’ve taken some of the pressure off — I can feel as if I’ve ‘achieved’ something in a way I couldn’t if I wrote a short story that I couldn’t finish, or if I just went down the pub. Plus, I’m having fun.

There was a point, recently, where I thought I might have to give up writing for pleasure entirely. A point where I was even worried that my creative stage fright was going to start interfering with my work. Finding a different outlet for my creativity has gotten me over a very difficult hump.

Being able to suck at something has given me a newfound freedom.

I’m not suggesting you should go and pick up a keyboard or a guitar, just do whatever makes you happy. At the minute, writing music is making me happy — and it’s making me better at my job.

Creative people need an outlet. What’s yours?

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