It’s been over a year. Honestly, it’s probably closer to 18 months since I’d written some of the compositions that I sit here staring at on my hard drive.
I wrote these pieces, fell in love with them, sat with the emotions they conjured, and swore I’d sit down and write lyrics and sing them into the pantheon of great songs. Considering you’re reading this, that obviously didn’t happen. These musical compositions were held hostage. Not by any tangible force or individual, but by time and my own mental set of requirements.
The fact that I just knew how these songs were supposed to end up and what they were supposed to sound like is what locked them away. However, each time I sat down to pick up my pen and write, nothing came out. I managed to get two passable choruses (hooks) written and recorded out of the whole bunch. I just had nothing. No lyrics. No concepts. I had none of the subtle and brilliant ideas one expects to surface during the creative process.
So, with that knowledge and a healthy dose of frustration, I punished those compositions by stashing them away until the right time — the time when my inevitable burst of creativity would arrive and rescue my plan from the depths of incompleteness.
One thing I pride myself on is my ability to complete a project if I set my mind to it. My friends will tell you that the one thing they can count on is that if I start a creative project, I will finish it and I will not half-ass it. So, with all that self-assuredness and my perfectionist personality, I stuck those songs in a drawer and refused to let them out until they were ready.
Then I waited.
Then I waited some more.
Then a year passed and every so often during that year, I would sit down grab a pen and decided that today would be the day that I sit down, write those lyrics & melodies, and record that final version of each song that would make it my greatest creation to date.
Nope. I got nothing.
I’ve written so many songs throughout my life, but for this, I was staring at an empty page. Every time.
Finally, my desire to complete a project kicked in. I had to look myself in the mirror and admit the words weren’t coming. They may never come and I could potentially sit on these forever and never have the song I wanted. So, I stopped. I stopped holding my creativity hostage. I stopped refusing to move forward because I wasn’t able to create exactly what I envisioned.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t like it. I don’t like having to admit defeat to my own creative mind. I don’t like not being able to accomplish or manufacture the vision I held in my head for this project.
I do feel so much more accomplished with a complete project. I do appreciate creating artwork and finalizing mixes, and deciding on track lists. I do like handing folks a project and saying, “This is what I’ve created.”
So, I let go. I let go of the high expectations, restrictions, and absolutes I have often chained to my creative thinking. I decided to find the value in collecting these compositions and sharing them with the world around me. I chose to appreciate the content I have created as opposed to mourning the content I didn’t create.
I don’t know if this is a positive or a negative because I simultaneously feel like I have conquered myself and lost a long-term battle with myself to create what I envisioned — and only what I’ve envisioned. I am both welcoming them into the living quarters of my creative world from the dungeon of delay and telling them, “I’m sick of you. Get out!”
I am going to release Verse Quietude as a celebration of the emotion these compositions evoked in me and the lack of lyrical accompaniment that rendered them voiceless rhythms. I will also release it under a Creative Commons license in the hopes that someone will come across this music and be inspired to write their own songs to it.
I think at the end of it all, I really want to push myself to get over my ego (if that’s what we should call it). I want to allow myself to step away from my inherent need to dictate my own creative process to me. I want to feel OK about allowing my creativity to exist wherever it is in time and in whatever form it takes. My hope is to share inspiration and if that helps someone else realize their creativity as well, then my job here is done. Stay tuned!