For the first time in a long time, or maybe the first serious time ever, I have hit writer’s block.
Call it a ‘musical midlife crisis’ if you like, I just can’t will myself to sit at Renoise, or Reaper, or with my instruments and voice, and really work on my music. It’s not as if I’m lacking in skill, ideas, projects, collaborations, time, and energy to make music successfully. I’ve hit some sort of emotional wall, and it’s quietly painful. How did this happen?
Well, not going into personal details here: I offended some friends, and in the process of reaping what I sowed discovered that a lot of my motivation to write, and to complete big projects, was coming from a deep desire to please others. Don’t read this a necessarily ‘writing music tailored to other people’s demands and tastes’, but rather as producing a product that is impressive and designed to prove my worth to people. To earn acceptance.
When the house of cards comes crashing down, and the people who you are trying to prove yourself to don’t want to know you anymore because you stupidly offended them, then you have no one to prove yourself to. Even worse, after life moves on, you might repeat the bad habit and find new people ‘prove’ yourself to. And it could go on and on forever, because you’ll always pick people you feel inadequate against, and due to the regular misunderstandings in life you will inevitably fall short until the relationship expires. Oh sure, you might scape some fans together along the way, but you never want to impress them: you want to impress the people who you’ve chosen to be impossible to impress. So the work is relentlessly trying to attempt the impossible.
This, for me, has to stop. I cannot start this silly cycle again. Hence the writer’s block. The thought of working on music is now associated with all this toxicity, and I am responsible for it. I have to somehow slowly work through this process and find again a true and healthy motivation for writing music. One that is unclouded by fictions and illusions that I have bought into.
So, why is it that you write music? I’ve heard many people say that they just write for themselves, but ask yourself: is that really true? Are you writing to prove something? Prove to who? Prove what? Goodness knows us musical types are a little bit more odd that most people and generally on the periphery of society: are we writing to prove our worth and necessity in society? Or is it something deeper, are we trying to right some psychological wrong that has occurred in our past. Are we writing to prove that hurt wrong? Or is it ego?
Is your writing altruistic? Is the purpose of your writing to show your fellow humans what magic and beauty (however noisy and crazy your music may be ) there is out there? Is it to inspire people, to enrich and ennoble their consciousness experience? How do you maintain such a pure approach? How do you prevent it from the corruption of bowing down to that act of pleasing others, and consequently leading your work into compromise and dilution? How do you turn a private and self-absorbed act into one of pure humanistic service and still write wonderful music?
Think about who you are writing for.