How much time have you spent on music you’ve never finished?
How many hours have you wasted – simply because you didn’t get a track over the line? How many awesome ideas have you lost to boredom?
So if you’re anything like I was before I discovered this method…
It’ll be in the 1000s.
Maybe in the 10,000s!
(I made music full time for around 17 years.)
And if you’ve got gigabytes of unfinished music on your ever expanding collection of “graveyard” hard drives”?
Because today I’ve got a simple solution for you…
YES – not every piece of music is worth finishing.
BUT – finishing every piece of music you start is worth it.
(With one crucial exception I’ll reveal shortly)
So why is finishing every idea you start (even the bad ones) worth the effort?
If you’re not careful, every piece of music your don’t finish is a millstone around your neck.
Especially if you’re already stuck or painfully slow making music.
They slow you down further. I’m sure you feel it.
You drag it around…it gets heavier and heavier…as more and more music piles up on that “graveyard” hard drive…until you can stand it no more…
ARRRRGGGGHHHH I’ll just delete the lot!!!
Phew! Such a relief. Clean slate.
You know you’re just covering up the symptoms. Sticking a plaster on festering wound. Despite that temporary relief – you just know that graveyard hard drive is gonna fill up again soon…
Human beings are creatures of habit.
I’m not sure how they worked this out – but one study found up to 40% of our daily action are habitual.
But my personal experience is it’s much higher. I reckon about 70% of my daily behaviour is habitual. So I’m now focused on creating habits that move me forward instead of holding me back.
Like finishing stuff. 🙂
So if you don’t make finishing everything you start your rule?
“Not finishing” will become a habit.
DO NOT let that happen.
(And if it already has? Don’t sweat it. The solution is right here.)
I had a major “aha” moment about 10 years into my career.
I needed to nurture something – to the exclusion of virtually everything else.
When I got it – I needed to keep it.
Your momentum is hands down the most powerful tool you have to make progress on your music.
It’s number 1.
You need to put it before your “mood”.
You need to put it before “attention to detail”.
You even need to put it before “quality”.
Because when you have momentum?
Not only do you start to make more music in much less time…
But also the music is MUCH BETTER than the stuff you forced out by sweating blood and tears over for months!
You MUST have had the experience where your best music comes out quickest?
I’ve helped literally 10,000s of music producers over the last few years and this happens with 90% of them 90% of the time.
The highest quality music comes out fastest.
Which is why you’ve got to cultivate and protect your momentum.
In fact – your momentum is soooo important that you even need to put it before finishing!
Yes – I know I just contradicted myself.
But this is the exception that proves your “I must finish” rule.
So if you’re totally stuck and simply don’t know what to do to finish the track?
Hit bounce /record and JUST CALL IT FINISHED. (But that’ll happen rarely once you’ve implemented what I’m about to share with you.)
And if you’re frustrated by an every growing heap of unfinished tracks on that graveyard hard drive?
Here’s a few simple steps to get unstuck and build your momentum.
1. Create a “sketchbook”
Either make a new folder – or rename an entire hard drive your “sketchbook”.
Do. Not. Delete.
Simply put everything you don’t know how to finish in your sketchbook for now.
(We’ll come to what to do with the more promising stuff in step 3.)
What this does is “reframe” all the music you’ve not finished – from a reminder of your failure to something much more useful…
Something you can use in the future.
Not wasted. Not painful. Progress.
And when you build your momentum by following the next steps below?
Many of these unfinished “sketchbook” ideas will suddenly connect with what you’re working on and you’ll know what to do with them.
Maybe not this week, month, year or even decade.
But it will happen.
Because when they’re just a sketch?
They’re not wasted.
2. Start and finish something for the RUBBISH BIN
If “not finishing” has become habitual – this step is for you.
Because you need to break that habit.
Best way to do this?
Leave quality behind.
Write for the bin. Seriously. Try it.
Make something rubbish!
JUST FINISH. That’s your “win”.
(You don’t have to play it to anyone – right?)
And how many pieces of crap you have to finish before you move onto the next step will depend on how bad you’re stuck.
Just finish as many as you need to until…
You feel some distance between you and “stuck”.
You’ve broken that habit.
You’ve become a “music finisher” in your head.
(And by the way – you’ll soon realise at least some of this music is MUCH better than the stuff you’ve agonised over.
Trust me on that. :-))
3. Use this process to finish some of the more promising music in your sketchbook.
It’s called the Magic Track Re-Animator.
It’s a 9 step process for finishing those dead tracks on your graveyard hard drive.
Use it for 2 reasons:
- There’s gonna be some GOLD in that sketchbook. You wanna make the most of it don’t you?
- You need to put some mental space between you and “stuck”. Actually finishing music you were stuck on is the BEST way to do this.
And this simple step by step cheat sheet is an easy and almost foolproof way to finish music you’ve given up on.
You make the decisions you need to make AWAY from the DAW – and then just get ’em done.
You see, once you’ve proved to yourself you can finish? That you’re a finisher?
You start to enjoy it. You make progress. More time to make music suddenly starts appearing to make music because you can’t wait to finish more!
And I don’t know about you – but when I was on a roll and finishing music?
I felt good. Happy. Awesome.
It’s that powerful.
I’ve seen the same time and again with the music producers I’ve helped.
And building that momentum, becoming a music finishing machine?