As human beings we are programmed for routine and habits. Habits are generally defined as performing an activity without thinking about it. This is normally at the same time each day. For example, you may workout at the same time every day after getting home from work or you may go for a run before breakfast. This is a habit. Bad habits are difficult to break but healthy habits are, on the other hand, difficult to create.
To create the habit you must acquire it through repetition. The art of doing something repeatedly at the same time each day, for the same length of time.
Starting the habit
It is very easy to come home from a long day at work and just sit in front of the TV binge watch on Netflix. Before you know it the night has gone and it is time for bed and the cycle repeats.
So how do we get to creating more music? The first step is to set up a habit. Consider the following questions:
- What is the most convenient time of day for you?
- Are you an Early Riser or a Night Owl?
- When do you feel that you are most productive?
- When do you feel the most creative?
From answering these questions you should arrive at a time of day. For me I work best in the early evenings, just after I have eaten.
Whatever time of day you have chosen give yourself a minimum of 15 minutes to sit in front of your DAW and write. Don’t worry about how it sounds and whether you feel it will be the next smash hit, that isn’t the end product you are looking for. What we are trying to do is form the habit of creating.
Time well spent
What you must do, however, is ensure you spend at least 15 minutes everyday writing. It is very interesting what happens when you have done this for a week to ten days. You will find that the 15 minutes you have spent is not 15 minutes but 30 minutes, sometimes one
So lets break this down. If you spend 30 minutes a day 5 days a week making music, that’s over 130 hours spent making music in a whole year.
Pain = Reward
Sometimes getting started in forming the habit is hard for some people. A good method is using a Pain = Reward system. Choose something that you find you have to do every day but which is necessary. Let’s assume you work best after your evening meal. We can use washing the dishes as the pain. Your reward is being able to spend 30 minutes locked in your room making music.
It is surprising how this Pain = Reward system can help fix the habit in place. Once in place, a habit formed in this way is very hard to break.
The question you may then ask is, how will this make me finish more music. Once you have formed the habit of making music each day you have the basic tools to create and finish tracks. The trick is not to be overly critical of what you produce. Flesh out your arrangement and stick to the agreed length – no cheating.
Once there divide each session with your DAW into time slots. Day one could be spent getting a good groove going. The second day spent on the Bass, with the third getting a nice chord progression going. You get the idea here.
Stops and starts
The most important thing is not to worry if you fall off the wagon and become sidetracked by something else. Life happens and priorities change. The main thing is not to leave too long a stretch before jumping back on, as you will always find an excuse not to restart.
I hope you found this article helpful and if you have any thoughts on this topic leave a comment below. Even better if you have any topics you would like me to cover in a future blog post drop a note in the comments section.