First attempts at art should be treated as experiments. Actually, all attempts at art should be experiments. It's likely that the art isn't good enough anyway, so why not learn best practices for the next attempt. Art compounds: the risks we take open more space, and more possibilities. That's the idea of failing forward. That's the idea of mastery instead of perfection.
All of the interludes on Talking to Myself were failed attempts to create songs. They were ideas that were too difficult to finish. The pain became too much in the writing process, so we stopped. Even though we couldn't continue, it seemed like there was a place for them. So as an experiment we put them on the record, trying to turn failure into a positive. From our first attempt, we've learned even more. Our second album will continue the interlude format -- it's what we do -- but the interludes that connect the songs will not have words.
Writing theoretical emotion entries was another experiment. Did it work? In a way, yes. Did it fail? Mostly. The format feels right, but needs to be tweaked. For our second album, Mixed Messages, the emotion entries will be replaced by short conversations: Mixed Messages. Each will build the themes and the concept of the album, but in a much more subtle way to maintain flow.
The book was our third experiment. Did it work? We'll see in a few weeks. But, my best guess is that it will be another mild success. That said, the lessons learned from it will be extremely helpful for our second attempt and third attempt.
Don't think of failure as failure, think of it as what creates character. We could have made a 10 song album, but then we'd be like everyone else. We could have only included songs, not interludes, but much of the meaning of our album would be lost.
Embrace your failures. Let them make what you do irreplaceable.
Mixed Messages / Reflections Day 7
The lyrics and chords for a song were finished today. I've been thinking about it for a week. A key change is what fixed the song. Finally! The progress feels good, but at the same time I'm reminded of how far we have to go.
Two albums. 50 songs. They will be finished by luck as much as planning. Once the outline is complete, it will turn into a mental game. In the upcoming weeks, I will need to forget that we are trying to write 50 songs. It's vital that I convince myself that this is a fact. We will impose a pseudo tunnel vision in order to zoom in during each writing session. If we get distracted, if we jump from song to song, our album will end up with 50 interludes, 50 incomplete attempts to capture a thought. One song at a time is the only way we will finish. Staying is the hard part. Staying takes discipline. Staying demands focus. It's the emotional labor that makes art fascinating. It's what leads us to say, "How did she do that?"
That brings us to the next challenge: To have 50 tracks, we will likely need 100. We were either extremely efficient or extremely lazy with our first album. Even though most songs were rewritten several times, we only ditched a few of them. We didn't show enough respect for the craft. For albums two and three, we will need to dig deep. That will probably mean getting rid of half of what we create. Getting rid of all the art that doesn't set your heart on fire is part of becoming better. And these albums will be much better.