NOTE: This blog was originally posted at BretAlexanderMusic.com
This week’s blog is going to be a short one. I’ve already done a session today. Computer is acting up. Gig tonight. Plus the usual line of duties. Phone is ringing. Emails piling in. Not a lot of time here today. Still I wanted to put something out there.
So it seems today would be a good day to talk about small victories. You ever watch a movie about how some dude has it all, loses it, then rises from the ashes and ultimately defeats the bad guy to win the ultimate prize? Everybody loves those kinds of stories. Boxing movies are great for that. “Cinderella Man”, “The Fighter”, and some of the “Rocky” movies all have that theme.
Usually somewhere in the middle of the movie there’s a slow motion montage of the guy fighting less glorious battles, dealing with injuries, self doubt, poverty, etc. etc. Usually you can’t wait for that part of the movie to be over so you can get to the big showdown at the end.
But ironically, in that boring slow motion montage is where the battle really gets won. The big moment at the end is really an afterthought. The culmination of a million small victories.
This is a blog about music and musicians, but that fact is universal. I think too many musicians spend too much time with their head in the clouds instead of their eyes on the ground. I wanted a record deal my whole adult life. But when I got one I can’t remember there being an enormous celebration. The band had already won the battle long ago. Good gig, bad gig, waste of time gig, shitty song, shitty song, decent song, good song – for 6 years. Every single day. The laws of cause and effect just finally caught up.
So if you are a creative person, get up every day and create something. Doesn’t matter if it’s a painting, song, blog, or whatever. I didn’t say “something brilliant”. I said “SOMETHING”. If you only have 15 minutes, write a 15 minute shitty song. Play your instrument for a few minutes. Put something out there into the air. The universe notices these kinds of things.
Sure, you gotta keep your eye on the prize. But if you are waiting for a perfect time to create you are going to be waiting a while. Then a day becomes a week and a week becomes a year and a year becomes a decade. There is an old saying, “If you want something done, give the job to a busy man.” That’s because the busy man knows it’s all about the small victories.
I apologize if this sounds like “self-help for musicians”. But it always happens.
Your muse isn’t going to be home every time you knock on her door. That’s cool, you don’t have to be brilliant today. But stop in and sign the guest book. Hang out for a couple minutes. You will be surprised what all those signatures will buy you in the end.
Bret Alexander is the owner of Saturation Acres Recording Studio as well as the guitarist and chief songwriter for The Badlees.