Studio Diary #3.
When you start out, you love every minute. You’ll sit up for hours; tweaking, listening, refining. But by the time you’ve turned that passion into the thing that puts food on the table, the landscape is very different. There is an expectant audience. There are the connections you’ve been meaning to follow up for this eventual release. There’s the money you spent getting the gear and/or people together to make it good enough to get to this point. You might have a family too. It’s a lot of stuff that shifts that perspective, and if you let it, it can all zap that inspiration you were flinging about the place carefree only a few years ago.
But that’s the test. Can you sustain it? I used to be daunted by the prospect of committing to dates to record. What if I’m not feeling it? What if I’ve got nothing?
Of course, waiting for inspiration makes for a poor and thin career. It may sound trite, but you just have to get shit done. You’re only as good as you are when you’re getting shit done, those thrice-yearly-best-song-evers don’t pay the rent. Blimey. This is nothing like I imagined it.
Except, it is. Because all that stuff about being in the headspace, about culturing and capturing this special other, it’s a big lie. It’s a lie that helps us all feel better about procrastination. We can dream BIG, but can we get it on tape? Can we have that elusive thing ready, when our schedule requires it?
That, to me, is the whole game. Inspiration when it strikes is not what makes you a great artist. A great artist is someone who turns up on time every day and just works at it, whether they’re ‘feeling’ it or not.
So I turn up every day that I can get to the studio. And I’m not waiting for inspiration to strike. I feel inspired to be there. The turning up, the getting on with it, that inspires. Reigning creativity in is healthy. Give it boundaries, put it on the clock, and it will blossom. Honestly, I’m coming up with the best stuff right now, and it’s not because I feel some magical inspiration. It’s because I’m cultivating it, disciplining it. That’s what great art really needs.