I, like many, many songwriters have a problem…
It’s called “perfectionism” and along with an over-zealous inner voice, this problem has plagued me my whole songwriting/music career.
I have tried many times to snap out of it and to some extent have been temporarily successful numerous times over the years but at the end of the day my default songwriting position is of being paralysed by too much choice.
My main curse is that I don’t finish things. I’ve never really finished things… Songs, tasks, projects, activities. I rarely finish things to the standard that I’d like to finish them at but then again, maybe that’s the problem.
I set impossible standards for myself.
Anyways, I stumbled across an article all about this very problem of perfectionism in songwriting and the author of this article was going through the very same issues as I am, right now.
Reading David Silverstein’s article Why It’s So Important To Finish Your Music And Share It With The World resonated with me on so many levels. In regards to his situation of not finishing his music he writes…
I realized that finalizing and sharing my music was the part that scared me the most. I was afraid. I was afraid of marking something complete because then I would have to answer to my own work. I could and would be held accountable for the result, which my perfectionism was never going to be happy with. If I was going to wait until I was 100% happy with something, I was going to be waiting a very long time.
BINGO! Therein lies my issue… Fear of being accountable for my work, fear of being criticised, receiving negative feedback or having to answer to trolls online.
He goes on by offering some suggestions as to how to get past this fear and for me the first things that I need to do is to stop setting outlandishly unreachable goals for myself. I wasn’t able to finish the FAWM Songwriting Challenge (14 songs in 29 days) this year because of this very fact.
Maybe what I need to do is to stop looking at my songwriting process as a series of sudden bursts of productivity and try to create a songwriting process that is more streamlined, organised, consistent and sustainable.
More than ever, good music needs to be written and shared with the world so why should fear and doubt in my own abilities get in the way of me sharing my music with the world?
David Silverstein finishes off his article with a simple quote from Leonardo da Vinci…
Art is never finished, only abandoned
I’ll be using this COVID-19 downtime I find myself in to finally conquer my songwriting fears and doubts. I’ll be finishing a lot of songs.