Monday, March 14, 2011

On Procrastination and Inspiration

I've been meaning to post on this topic for quite a while. I'm sorry if this makes absolutely no sense. I just needed to get my ideas out there. Try not to get too dizzy.

Way back in February, I composed.

I was at school, in science class. While reading Dandelion Fire, the second book in the 100 Cupboards series, a song randomly popped into my head, and it was brilliant! I wrote it on the only piece of paper available: the back of a library receipt. It was incredible (at least, in my head it was) and I couldn't wait to get home so I could write it all out on Sibelius. I was so excited that I told The Director that she had had had to write that series into a screenplay just so I could do the score for it. (Besides, they would make a pretty awesome movie if done correctly...)

But when I got home, I was uninspired, so I let the library receipt sit there next to my computer all weekend (Since I was out of town) gathering dust. I resolved to write it up when I returned.

Well things happened and I became overly busy. The school play was happening and it was the first week of the new semester. Needless to say, I forgot about composing all together.

Every few days or so it would pop into my head one way or another and I'd always tell one of my friends, "Oh yeah. I composed something last week and I haven't written it up yet. I'm going to do that when I get home." That never happened.

I was reminded of it just last weekend and I was all inspired and ready to go. I even had my chicken salad!

I got all ready to sit down for a day of serious composing, and...

My computer was, er, under the weather.

Alrighty then... I guess I won't be doing it after all.

So here I am almost a month later. That library receipt has made its way into my binder of ideas. Sibelius isn't working for me and I think we'll have to reinstall it. Same with iTunes (which I don't look forward to).

See where procrastination got me? It reminds me of Pharaoh and his reaction to the frogs that were plaguing his home. He had the option to get them out of there, to be done with them. He was asked when he wanted them gone. He said "Tomorrow."

Quite honestly, this whole thing is becoming a frog to me. I kept putting it off like Pharaoh did and now it's only giving me trouble.

Now, I've had this happen to me before. If you were with me a couple of days before the premiere of Pirates in the Suburbs, you know what I'm talking about.

If you weren't, then know this: I decided to put off composing the score until about 2 days before the premiere. That's right, I did most of the score on the day before and the day of! It was stressful, it was tiring, and it made me never want to compose again.

But it was entirely my fault for putting it off. I could easily blame it (along with everything else) on The Director, but I'm not going to. Actually, I'm pretty sure the only thing that made me finish was the deadline. If it weren't for deadlines, I probably wouldn't get much done at all.

But why do I tend to wait until the last possible moment?

Much of the time, it has to do with inspiration. Normally, there are only two times when I'm inspired.

1. Directly after an idea gets planted inside my head (normally the first hour or so)
2. Directly before a deadline (Again, an hour or two before)

There is a bit of a creative dry spell, a gap of blah, if you would, between the time a project is assigned and the time it's due. For this reason, I don't write papers for school until the night before. For this reason, I never practiced speeches until right before giving them. For this reason, I waited until the last possible moment to compose the score. In order to finish something, I need a deadline. I need the stress. Stress is what helps to inspire me.

Since stress comes with deadlines, I've settled on a way to make sure I get this song written up once and for all.

Over Spring Break, which is this coming weekend, I have made a personal commitment to, first, reinstall Sibelius, and then, I will sit down and compose before I even think about touching this blog. Hopefully by then I will have also learned how to add audio clips to my posts so you can all hear my masterpiece.

So if you don't hear from me for a while (my Soundtrack Saturdays are scheduled- they don't count) you can be sure that I'm working on something (hopefully) incredible and (Lord-willingly) awesome and epic.

Wish me luck!



  1. Go for it!! I'll look forward to hearing your pieces!

    You remind me of how I am with my writing sometimes. I get big ideas, I work on them for a week, and then the enthusiasm dries up. Pathetic. *smiles* I need to work on that.

    I can't wait to hear how it goes. :D

    ~Jamie Joyce

  2. Awesome, girlfriend. Go for it, okay? You rock :)

    And thanks for not blaming me, even though you could have.

    PS.... please, go on. This is a confessional room, you know ;)


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