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Unstuck Your Creativity
Overcoming creative blocks! and: pacing yourself, the industry's good peeps, rice cooker and synths, industry news
@skylumusic is back with her journal entries series. This week she reflects on creative blocks, and how to overcome them.
When Your Creativity is Stuck
My mental, emotional and creative health is wavy at times. Following World Mental Health Day earlier this month, I’ve been thinking about the other blocks and barriers that can get in the way of being an artist. I suppose learning to surf the waves is my best bet, seeing as life (like art) is not straightforward or predictable.
With all the life admin that comes with being a grown-up living the self-employed juggle, it’s not always easy to carve out time and stick to it. Oh, precious time for rest, self-care and creative space.
I long for room to stretch out as an artist and let ideas flow. But even when I have time, sometimes I’m not in the mood. If there are no urgent calls on my time and there’s room to be quiet and reflective or loud and wild, my inner fears and reasons-not-to begin to surface…
I find that little (or louder) internal voices begin to chime in with thoughts and reminders about other things that need doing first. It’s a trap, of course.
I find that little (or louder) internal voices begin to chime in with thoughts and reminders about other things that need doing first. It’s a trap, of course. If I keep listening to the voice which keeps coming up with more possible things to quickly do, be it admin or reaching out to a friend, then I’ll NEVER get round to just being and letting my creativity flow.
There’s also my inner critic. My inner critic suggests that I’ll never get started and what’s the point anyway? They tell me not to trust myself and that I’m not good enough to even try. Not good enough to try? That makes no sense at all really, when you think about it.
At a gig recently, a wonderful artist shared that she had had an extended block where she could not bring herself to sing, not even in the shower. Eventually, she began to break through this block by setting a ten-minute timer – see if anything comes through in ten minutes, just PLAY and let that be enough. I felt a lightbulb go off inside my head and heart and a feeling of warmth and possibility.
Eventually, she began to break through this block by setting a ten minute timer – see if anything comes through in ten minutes, just PLAY and let that be enough.
Ten minutes? Go on then. I can’t argue with that. The pressure is off. Just a slice of time to sit in or hum in or draw or write lyrics in.
Try writing down some of the thoughts which can bubble up and make you want to freeze and not bother. Seeing them on paper, choose to leave those aside and make room for more empowering ones.
Written by @skylumusic - founder of @jamsandwichlive
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Pacing Your Career
I believe we all experienced the sudden wake-up at 3 am, and the subsequent black hole of negative thoughts and worries about our music career. Rest assured, you will not find any answers in the early hours. Everything will be clearer in the morning. Often those ‘panic sessions’ are caused by overworking, overstressing and even a potential burnout.
One thing that can help greatly is learning how to pace yourself. Spending 12 hours a day worrying about your career won’t take you very far, in fact, it will have the opposite effect. Creativity is also inspiration, and inspiration requires a certain amount of ‘mental regeneration’. Do something else that makes you happy, and find meaning and happiness in it too. Yeah, it might be time to find a hobby!
The Song Sommelier highlights how pacing yourself is also crucial for a long-lasting career: “In this day and age, you need more than just your album-touring cycle to engage your fan base, so you can invite them in on your other creative projects too. It goes without saying that paying more attention to physical and mental wellbeing has become more recognised and important for artists in the modern industry, though problems are still rife. What matters is that you take the time to regenerate, make the art you need to make and that you keep in touch with your fans. Longevity is not a linear process, but cyclical - everything comes back around.”
Check out their podcast The Art of Longevity
Helpful Peeps In The Industry
Although the music industry has gotten quite a bad rep over the years, it is also filled with genuine and wise people who you can rely on for honest advice and constructive criticism. One of them is Latch Media’s Keely Bremner, experienced senior PR but also an artist herself (@forestofficial).
She’s offering “an informal, friendly, 30-minute chat about all things music. A safe space to ask questions, get advice, feedback and support. A place where artists, creatives, anyone in OR wanting to get into the music industry can unload, feel seen, understood and then ultimately feel empowered.”
She also explains: “I've often found that sometimes, even just picking someone else's brain or hearing another’s ideas can provide a whole new perspective, deeper clarity and sense of ease.”
Rice Cookers and Synthetisers
It happened, someone used a rice cooker to perform electronic music! In all seriousness, the performance is the genius work of Trevor Van De Velde; called ‘Hacking Grains’ it is “an installation & performance project that explores the web of relationships between technology, ritual, and Asian Futurity”.
“HYBE revealed on Monday (October 17) that its flagship group BTS will fulfill their mandatory military service in their home country of South Korea.”
“Essentially it’s about releasing music onto TikTok as stems, which people can then use to create their own songs.”
“Note, which is currently only available on iOS devices, is a musical sketching tool and a place to “start ideas”, rather than created fleshed-out music.”
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