peanuts 12-22

I’ve discovered that I suck at recording. I’m good at writing, playing, and all that other music stuff. But I’m just god-awful at recording. It’s not that I can’t plunk down in a studio for 10 hours and come out with something great. It’s that I can’t spend 20 minutes here and there trying to get my garbage apartment studio operational and expect to create a masterpiece.

If you slog through the 9-5 and don’t have time for what you truly love, what are you doing with your life? When are you going to make a change? I’m lucky to have a job I enjoy, but that doesn’t mean I want to give up every other part of myself. I love everything about music and I need to create it, listen to it, and play it. Full stop!

I’m through feeling like I don’t have time to record, when maybe I do, but maybe I don’t. I’m through screwing up guitar tracks because I’m sliding off the edge of my bed trying to keep the spacing from the mic equal throughout the whole song. This month, I’m recording a Christmas EP, but I’m also going to crack the code on bedroom recording and figure out a way to make it less unbearable.

Here are the steps I plan on taking.

1. Write down the entire recording process, from turning on my computer, to tuning my guitar, to playing the tracks.

Each piece is a step toward the end goal of a completed song. If I can document each piece of the process, I should be able to figure out pieces that I can streamline to save myself time. And to re-iterate, it’s not that I don’t have the time, it’s that these steps create the illusion of not having time.

Write down the process for doing what you love. What steps can you combine or what can you tweak to make it easier and less time consuming to get started?

2. Time the process, and write it all down.

What I think takes 15 minutes may only take 3. I’m going to time myself setting up, recording, and breaking down to see how much time I’m actually spending doing the things I feel like take up a lot of time. Then I’m going to write down those times to make them more ‘real’ in my brain. It’s easy to estimate “15 minutes for this, 15 for that, next thing you know an hour is lost”. But if those 15 min are actually 30 seconds, that’s a huge mental block that needs to be squashed.

Time and write down how long it actually takes you to set up your water colors, assemble your fishing pole, or do whatever it is that you feel is holding you back time-wise. What time have you gained by looking at the actual minutes taken vs. what you are estimating?

3. Make a new plan, and go for it!

After considering steps 2 and 3, I’ll have a general idea of what needs to be tweaked to be more successful at apartment recording. To put the tweaks to work I’m going to create a step by step list of the process so that I’m not running around from room to room looking for a pop filter.

Put your findings into action. What is the new process that will enable you to follow your passions without roadblocks (whether mental or otherwise)? Practice it, rinse, and repeat. 

Bonus step 4.

Meditate before and after the process. In other words, relax.

I can’t stress how much home recording bugs me out. It is such a pain in the ass. I need to meditate or relax and tackle the new processes with a calmer state of mind, or else I know the confusion and anxiety will come through on the recording, for better or worse.

Remember to stay cool throughout the process. What can you do to relax before taking on what seem like stressful tasks? 

I’m off to finish a Christmas EP for the final 12 Months of Stuff project. What can you do today, in the next 5 minutes, that will enable you to pursue your passions?