Why make music, don't sweat writer's block, and creating on a budget

Heya folks,

I had a lovely time at last Friday's house show. Thanks to those who came through, and welcome to those who are new to the mailing list! You may always unsubscribe if you do not wish to receive email updates from me.

Why make music?

Last week, someone told me something really sweet after I played Friday at the Fox Den: "I feel like I got to know you better." This reminds me of two things I want to share with you. First, creativity is a pathway to self-discovery, and as we discover ourselves, performance is the act of uncovering who we are before others. Second, as we go into that daunting territory of showing ourselves and our work, it's best to keep what I call "rainy day file"—that is, the encouraging words people have given you about your work.

Don't sweat writer's block

Here's some wisdom from Carole King. She says via Songwriters on Songwriting, "the key to not being blocked is to not worry about it. Ever. If you are sitting down and you feel that want to write and nothing is coming, you get up and do something else. ... It always comes back, and the only thing that is a problem is when you get in your own way worrying about it." This accords with my experience, since my writer's blockage is usually the result of being overly self-conscious, and the simple truth to stop being self-conscious is to stop thinking about your problem.

Making art doesn't have to be expensive

Bookending the "why" of music-making, Todd Rundgren says (also in Songwriters on Songwriting), "the point of being a musician is to go out there and create music and communicate it to people. And it's an illusion that the only way you can successfully do that is with the record companies." Puppet artist Christine Schisano says via Creative, Not Famous: The Small Potato Manifesto, "Don't give the money-people control over your creativity. Don't let them be the only ones to dictate the art that gets made and put out in the world." I love that making records is more than ever becoming a DIY endeavor.