Trying to finish things

I went through a phase where I would spend a lot of time perfecting grand opuses or highly complex beats before sharing them with people. Or grand collections of grand opuses or rhythms. But the problem was that, during the long process, the music would start to feel outdated, or I would improve as a musician, or my interests would change, or I would get better hardware, and on and on. So I would have to change course mid-stream, and that would be a set-back. The art was a struggle because I was racing to keep up, and yet never finishing anything.

I mentioned in a previous post that I’m trying to finish things more regularly now. Part of the reason is because you just have to finish sometime! But here’s my main point: No matter how quickly you create a piece of art, you will have changed by the time it’s done. Because it’s changed you, and hopefully you have matured. At least this is what happens to me. It changes me as I work through the process, and I grow. So, art should never be good enough to the artist, if the process runs its natural course. I now accept this, and I am trying to record as much as possible. As long as I can look back in the long term, and see the trend of each recording getting better and better, then I figure I should be content. If I just look in the short term, I only see something that feels outdated.

In the software world, it’s often said “shipping should be considered a feature”. Or there’s the saying, “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” I think both apply here. Just keep creating and sharing, and try to keep up with yourself.

7 Replies to “Trying to finish things”

    1. Yeah! That’s another good one!

      I’m actually saying that the process itself is not enough of a reward. You have to finish things. Even if you don’t share all of them with others, finished things help you stay up to date and help you get better and help you produce things that people are more likely to like. The longer it takes, the more invested you are in the outcome. The longer it takes, the more fearful you are that you’ll fail. The longer it takes, the more heartbroken you will be if you fail. And art is tricky, so you’ll fail more often than you’ll succeed (if you’re not super-human).

      1. Another oxymoron often expressed is “Close enough for jazz.” But even if you’re out of tune or made a mistake, you have to make it sound like you meant it and that takes experience, being creative and being comfortable in your art form.

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