I run the adult programs at our town library, and one of my favorites is a new Songwriting Workshop. The leader, Jud Caswell, has mad skills at being able to hear what someone plays and sings, then offering bits of advice that seem small but that help immensely.
Last week, Jud offered this advice to stop procrastination in its tracks:
(1) Make a shorter deadline
Jud told a great story about a friend he was coaching who just couldn’t make time to write, so Jud asked him to turn in a song by the end of the week. The guy said there was no way he could write a song in a week, so Jud said fine, then get it to me tomorrow.
“Write a song in a day? No way!”
“Fine then, write a song now. What’s knocking around in your head?”
The guy sat down and wrote his first song.
(2) Lower your standards
We all want to do wonderful, terrific work, but if your goal is to only do wonderful, terrific work you may never get started. Taking action gets you moving – and it almost doesn’t matter what direction you move in. Once you start, you get in the flow and can edit later. Mark Twain famously wrote, “Write drunk. Edit sober.” In his case, it was probably literal, but I love the concept of writing, or painting, or learning anything new with great abandon. We’re generally our greatest critic. The thought here is to get started and trust that you’ll clean up the mess later.
Jud also mentioned a writer who was asked if he wrote on a schedule or only if he was inspired. The guy replied, “Only when I’m inspired! So it’s a good thing I’m always inspired at about 9:00 every morning.”
I sincerely hope you’re inspired to try something new this spring. Doing work that comes from your heart makes all the stuff you have to get done so much more interesting.
Here’s a shot from a local Pub where I meet with other writers to talk about writing show tunes. As we build our tribe, we’ll take tips anywhere we can find them 🙂