This past week, I have felt like a cheater. That it has been too fun for me to actually be doing it properly. Shouldn’t it feel more difficult? Shouldn’t I have written more than I have? And lastly, shouldn’t I be getting bored or frustrated more quickly than this?
For those people who have never given yourselves full time to creative pursuits, you might question that boredom part. Enjoy that feeling! It is wonderful that you can just wholeheartedly love your passion. And if you are a full time creative who doesn’t get bored… what’s your secret?!
But honestly, as someone who studied my passion, working full time on it for what felt like forever, sometimes it gets ridiculously boring. I know plenty of people who agree with me. It is not always fun.
Which is why I was feeling like a cheater this past week. It felt TOO fun. What work had I forgotten? What editing was I avoiding? The answer: none.
I was doing other important work instead.
There are so many reasons I am thankful that I studied composition at University. I know how to finish a piece of music, I know how to put together a concert, I know how to write for different instruments… the list goes on.
But what I love the most? Learning that I don’t actually have to be writing the music or the script to be getting work done. In fact, if that was all I was spending my time doing, according to my old teachers, I would be making a big mistake.
At the start of each semester in my degree, we were given a little ‘composition guide’. It was essentially what we had to write for our portfolio for that semester. With each piece of music we had to write, there came the most helpful list in the world. What music we should listen to before, during and after we were writing that piece.
And in our composition log (yes, we had to record how long we had spent on our work each week), the time that we spent listening to and studying that music was counted as composing.
I would write no music. I wouldn’t plan anything. I would just listen and take notes. And it counted as work.
It was the best. Because not only did I get to listen to music all the time, it actually helped. A lot. (Shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise, I know).
So this week, I have been watching musicals. For fellow musical fans out there, imagine my joy; I get to sit and watch all the musicals I’ve been wanting to watch, and I am able to call it work!
The best part is this: I have already seen how it is helping. I’m looking at the music I’ve written, and realised that I need to focus in on one melody more, because that is a feature of musical writing. I’ve changed some ways I’m developing characters, because it turns out I was accidentally writing for a book instead of a stage.
I have felt like I was cheating. That I should be spending more time churning out words and notes. But it’s not true. And for anyone out there who is struggling, because they’re spending all their time in producing work, you can stop! Read, go to an art gallery, get out into nature, listen to something you’ve never heard before. It’s just research. And it makes the world of difference.