Merlin Mann | Nov 7 2005
Some time back, mathowie poked me about talking to our pal, Scott Andrew, about some of the productivity mojo he uses to keep his one-man acoustic pop army in line. Turns out that, in addition to being a terrific singer/songwriter, Scott’s got a mature system for booking gigs, promoting his work, and maintaining a lively relationship with his many fans.
Although there are tips here that will be useful to everybody (keep it simple; fear not lofi; provide great customer service), the musicians, artists, and other performers out there will most especially learn from what Scott’s got going on; as my friend Sean is fond of saying (in a booming, fakey showbiz-guy voice): "It's not music 'friend'; it's music business!"
Productivity for the Practicing Musician
by Scott Andrew
When Merlin approached me about writing a sort of “Getting Music Done” piece, I initially thought: buh? I’m probably the worst model for artistic productivity. After mulling it over, it occurred to me that I’m probably a very typical model. I have a day job. I have rent. I write songs on a used thriftstore guitar and record them when I can scrape enough gig money together. I spend my creative life in that emotional DMZ between self-assured, passionate DIY ferocity and vague, nagging career dissatisfaction. In other words, I’m just like most aspiring musicians. Perfect! So don’t please look on this article as advice from someone who’s “been there” — I’m still getting there.
I once read a rant by a punk musician who complained that if he had the time and ability to do all the stuff needed for a rewarding music career, he wouldn’t need a record deal. Well, yes. The unsexy truth is that some days you’ll feel more like a Post Office than a rock star. This pisses off some people who’d rather be working on, like, music, instead of bookings or publicity. But that’s okay, because the worst that can happen is: nothing happens. Eventually you get tired of nothing happening, and you resign yourself to the “business” side of the music business. Sigh.read more »
Merlin Mann | Sep 23 2005
This is a terrific bunch of notes on hacking your creative process, especially as it applies to visual art.
I really love the idea of not getting hung up on your failures and trying always to make rather than judge as the process is underway. It reminds me favorably of what Anne Lamott says about fearlessly producing your “shitty first draft.”
A few of the points I especially enjoyed:read more »
Merlin Mann | Sep 21 2005
Your mobile phone camera can be more than a fast way to send your kitty photos to Grandma Pearl. Like a lot of people, I use mine as a ubiquitous capture device, recording ephemeral information and visual documentation wherever and whenever it’s needed.
I’m mostly curious to hear how other folks are using their phonecams (open comments below), but I’ll get the ball rolling with a few ideas, old and new:read more »
Merlin Mann | Sep 7 2005
Roy Peter Clark has distilled the concept of “writing as carpentry” down to twenty simple techniques for tightening up your work.read more »
Merlin Mann | Sep 6 2005
Ideas for keeping your creative life alive while you pay the bills.read more »
Merlin Mann | Aug 31 2005
Merlin Mann | May 14 2005
Cool home page for Creative Think. Oblique Strategies-like tips. Reload for more.read more »
Merlin Mann | Apr 27 2005
Jeffrey Windsor shares a great tip for making it easy to start work in the morning—by always leaving your work at a point where it will be easy, intuitive, and interesting to pick things back up. Instead of grinding away until you're drained and out of enthusiasm, quit while you're on a roll.read more »
Merlin Mann | Apr 19 2005
Cool wiki full of memory tricks, mnemonic systems, and other mental parlor tricks.read more »
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