This weekend gone was a really frustrating weekend for me in terms of music production due in part due to inertia. Every time I go through one of these stages the causes are always the same yet different. I was unable to make music on Friday due to work commitments. No problem, I did a bit of sample sorting and told myself I would get a start on Saturday. The next morning my girlfriend and I decided we wanted to go out for breakfast, this was no problem because I would start when we got home. When we got home it was late and I only had a couple of hours before I had to go to work. I decided to use this time to do some sample and preset sorting again because it wasn't enough time to get any musical ideas down and develop them. I told myself that it wasn't a problem and that i'd be able to spend the whole day on Sunday being creative.
Sunday morning came, I got up early and sat down in front of my computer ready to start. I composed a drum loop and then began working on an idea for a track that I had, and after four solid hours the idea went nowhere. This proved to me a fatal blow to my motivation to push through for that weekend. With all the other obstructions, it was just too frustrating attempting writing music. This often makes me quite distressed. The only way to get better at making music is by completing a full track. Making music is not reading about making music, it's not commenting on music production forums, it's not finding inspiration, it's not sound design and it's not fiddling with EQ or compression. I consoled myself that I had at least composed a usable drumbeat that I could build on later. I went off to shower and fix myself something to eat. After showering and having something healthy for dinner I felt much better and wanted to go back and see if I could salvage something. I came back to my computer with fresh ears and listened to the drum loop that i'd composed only a couple of hours before. It sounded terrible. There was just no chance that I was going to get anything productive done this weekend, that was it.
Creativity is a funny thing. If you don't try and spend time pushing through those spells where you don't feel creative then you'll never get anywhere. You have to be in front of your computer trying to be creative in order to get in the flow. However having said that, there are also times when you just cant force it, or if you attempt to then it will be so taxing on you mentally that it's almost not worth it. In light of this, I can take away a few lessons from what happened to me on the weekend.
Firstly, don't let inertia creep up on you. If you have set aside some time to make music or do music related things then stick to it. Habit is the key, make sure to give yourself the time and the space to be creative. If you simply wait for when you feel creative, you will be much less productive. You have to create the conditions in which creativity can thrive. Secondly its that looking after yourself can help you be creative. studies have shown that exercise can help boost creativity. I have no doubt in my mind that other things like eating healthy can do the same. If you feel good, then chances are you'll do good things. If you don't feel good physically because you've been binging on sugary drinks, chips and chocolate when producing, its harder to concentrate and get into the zone. Frustration creeps in because your subconscious is distracted and hyper or otherwise you're crashing because of all the sugar you've eaten. Finally, another thing that should be obvious is that you need to remove distractions as much as possible. This weekend when I sit down to make music at my designated times, i'll be telling the world that I am not to be disturbed until my scheduled break time. I'll be turning off my mobile phone and unplugging my router so that i'm not tempted by Facebook and other pointless things that can simply wait.
I know that I cant always be creative, maybe I can't force something right here and now, but this immediate frustration is a good sign because it means I will... Frustration of not doing will motivate me to do so later. I also know that by creating the right conditions for it, that I can be creative. Within the time and space I have set aside for myself, I can translate my imagination and my vision into auditory form, and that is the most satisfying feeling of all.