Easy tips on how to step up your creative practice in order to be more productive with your time, whether you are just starting out or want to get unstuck.
Just like a book wasn't written in a day and the Beatles didn't become the Beatles overnight, your path into a professional artist will require a professional attitude and considering your artistry as work. This means staying productive even when you don't necessarily feel like it and continuing to work towards your goals and developing your talent even when it’s not fun.
It usually takes 28 days to develop a habit - an easy way to get on track with this is scheduling some time daily and weekly in your calendar for different activities.
Create a structure for practicing your skills, doing research on your music, general housekeeping or planning your next step whether it’s finding a venue to perform or recording your next song.
As boring as it may seem, having all this set up in your calendar, and seeing it organized will already give you a better sense of direction and being in control of your future.
Also, what often gets forgotten in the quest for productivity is rest. Part of professionalism is also taking care of your most important instrument, yourself. As you plan your schedule, also remember to boundary enough time for rest and wellbeing and stick to it. Just like a car, you can’t run on an empty tank. Be sure to get rest and also unwind with things that let your brain relax.
Sometimes doing nothing for a bit to rest up can be everything you need.
Joining forces is a well-known method of getting more done and with synergy you can create something more than the sum of its parts. Especially when you are starting out, you can benefit a lot from a community of likeminded artists.
Reach out to people locally at venues, classes or events or find relevant communities in your genre across the world on social media networks.
You can start finding other artists to play with, producers for your music or to feature your voice on their tracks or singers to sing your songs.
With some of the video conferencing tools of today you can even organize live jams without everyone having to be in the same location. Having people around you to push you working on your art, when you may not feel like it, or just to bounce ideas off from, is a fantastic way of staying on track with your goals.
In today’s world, where online platforms are constantly hungry for content, it also helps to work with other artists to create more and better quality content and to share each other’s networks.
If you already have a track ready you can even reach out to dancers and video makers about working together. As with any online contacts, just make sure that you only share your details with people you trust and try to make sure you get credit for your share of the work even if you haven’t hit the big time just yet.
It’s no secret that some of your best ideas can happen in the shower or on your daily bus journey when your brain is taking a little break.
Set yourself up for success by creating a routine of noting down your thoughts and ideas, no matter how incomplete at the time. Even if it’s just a single line for a lyric, write that down, when you think of it.
Whether you use your phone or an old school notebook, you’ll start noticing more ideas when you start keeping a record of them. You can keep a notebook and a pen by your bed for when you wake up in the morning or start recording voice notes for yourself on your walk or before you go to bed at night.
The opportunities for simple, easy ways to do this are endless, and as you make it a habit, you’ll notice so are your ideas.
Sometimes it is very easy to stick with what you like and what you know, but you run the risk of getting stuck and your art getting stale.
To be passionate about music as an art form and serious about creating art of any kind means being hungry for new ideas and influences.
Look at all the samples utilized by rappers and DJ’s or the style choices of some of pop’s greatest influencers - they all draw upon a vast amount of cultural references across the board.
Start listening to music from different genres, decades or countries, it doesn’t even have to take a lot of effort, just pick a strange, new playlist while cooking or working.
Make sure you are watching music videos, interviews or films beyond your usual interests.
If you want to write songs, start reading everything and anything. Those poems from a hundred years ago may not be your personal cup of tea, but you may just discover the one line that will trigger your imagination to write a whole new song.
The key is to feed your brain as much as possible.
Goals become real the more honest and open you are about them.
Get comfortable talking about your aspirations to be an artist and the things that inspire you. The more you share your story, the more confident you'll become.
Seek out people whose opinion and support you trust, even possibly getting some harsh realities will make you stronger and help you see where you can improve and grow.
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