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Loosing faith in myself - writing an album
Old 17th April 2017
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Loosing faith in myself - writing an album

Hi everyone.

I signed a deal about 3 months ago but have been writing an album for about a year now.

In the last few months I've really lost interest in what I've written, but i could also wake up the next day and regain all my love for it... its really up and down.

I was in the studio for the last few days and very little happened... i really didn't want to be there and left early as i was feeling totally uninspired.

There is a lot of creativity buzzing about but for some reason i cant seem to tame it when I'm in the studio...

Its quite painful.

I just feel as if what I'm writing and doing is no good and i get lost in mixes/chords/options...

Any thoughts on how to tame my feelings of self-doubt and get back to a place of feeling comfortable and creative?

Thanks!
Old 17th April 2017
  #2
Lives for gear
 
GeminIAm's Avatar
We all have this. What I'd say is that someone has enough faith in you to offer you a deal, so it can't be that bad. Means you're lucky, I do what you do for myself and nobody even knows about it. So quit whining and record some damn tunes bro!
Old 17th April 2017
  #3
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boombapdame's Avatar
@benjiboko what label are you signed to and what genre(s) do you do?
Old 19th April 2017
  #4
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BarcelonaMusic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by benjiboko View Post
Hi everyone.

I signed a deal about 3 months ago but have been writing an album for about a year now.

In the last few months I've really lost interest in what I've written, but i could also wake up the next day and regain all my love for it... its really up and down.

I was in the studio for the last few days and very little happened... i really didn't want to be there and left early as i was feeling totally uninspired.

There is a lot of creativity buzzing about but for some reason i cant seem to tame it when I'm in the studio...

Its quite painful.

I just feel as if what I'm writing and doing is no good and i get lost in mixes/chords/options...

Any thoughts on how to tame my feelings of self-doubt and get back to a place of feeling comfortable and creative?

Thanks!
I know exactly what you`re going through. It sounds like my struggle with alcohol and trying to keep focused. I was on a tight schedule with a worldwide label, just on the other side of the world. I was working full time, going to school part time, and writing what seemed endless songs for them. So Id be on the phone in the middle of the night, get up and fix something. I turned to straight vodka after school to keep up recording because it was like gasoline. I kept that up for about a year and fell into full alcoholism. I lost my creative edge, I lost my love all of it. I was still functioning, it`s just my feelings were so numb, I had nothing to write about anymore. My wife is a singer/songwriter , so she helped me. But I`m the music man, producer etc. I couldn`t do it after a few more songs. Lost all desire. Now, I`m recovering, and always will be, the world has opened up like I`ve never seen it before. I got this book, as belittle as it may seem, it`s helped me become an even BETTER songwriter. The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Art of Songwriting . Yeah, yeah, I`m not a complete idiot about it. But this book made me be a songwriter all my waking hours. Everywhere you look, there is a story to tell. It`s a GREAT book, even if you've been writing almost 30 years like me. My wife follows this Buddhist guy on Facebook, and there is one thing he said that blew me away. Look at a blank sheet of paper, it is anything but blank. The tree that made the paper has a story, the man working in the paper factory has a story, the truck driver that brought the paper to the store has a story. The paper is so full of stories, you couldn`t fit them all on that 1 sheet. I`m paraphrasing, but you get the point.
Old 19th April 2017
  #5
Lives for gear
Ok.....This I can speak on

Just so you know my history, I've been signed to two majors, couple big indies and several small ones, I've played Madison Square garden (opening act) but I doubt you've heard of me (Unless your into Glitter-Punk) Make my living now doing library cues

So, though I've never broken out, i've certainly been around the block and am here to tell you that I have experienced what you are going through almost EVERY record I've made (I usually hate the record by the time it's done, then I listen back 3-5 years later and I'm like "How was this not a hit?!?!"

The truth is, I've relied on outside pressures to push me through, left to my own devices (and I've always been the songwriter) I love the song then I hate it then love it then am so sick of love/hating it I just want it to go away.

It's my ego, tells me I'm a genius, then that I'm a no-talent hack it either wants me up or down that's how the ego works, what it doesn't want is for me to accept the opportunity in front of me, to do my best over a period of time working steadily and making committed decisions that once made, I do not let myself go back on, it does not want me to show up to work no different than a plumber put in an honest days labour and be happy with what I was able to do with the time allotted,

I suggest to you that you wouldn't have a deal if you weren't writing anything good,
What songs got you the deal? Record those, and whatever other songs fit that vibe, do demos and pass them out to 10 people you trust, fill the record up with the songs they think fit best, or if your instincts tell you which ones fit, do those and do not go back on the decision

The record you make in the time you have to make it is the record you are supposed to be making, the songs that got your foot in the door are the ones that should be on it,

If you don't have enough, wake up an hour early every day and write for a week or two, whatever is there at the end of it is what you record

get help from anyone you are working with, ask for the external pressure to commit and execute

above all have faith that you are doing what you are supposed to be doing and consider it your responsibility to the world that you get it done,

someone once told me first instincts are always right, the second guess is the devil having his say

Oh, and let me add this, forget the feeling of creative comfort, that is a fantasy, this is hard painful but also incredibly rewarding work, be ready to make painful decisions and not go back on them, it's what is called an "executive decision" and they need to be made.

Start making them: "We're going with mix 3" "Track two is axed, were not wasting any more time on it, track 5 is coming easier and fits better, were going with that" "This is the final vocal comp, lock it were going with it" "This is the track sequence" "We are cutting the busy guitar in that song" "We only get paid for 10 songs so we are cutting this down to ten, track 12 and 11 are gone, yes I know people like them, but I like track 9 and 10 so that's what's on the record, that's final, ok moving on what's next?" "Ok, that's it the records done, call Bernie and tell him we are ready to master......what? he wants stems? .....oh god.....

Last edited by terrible.dee; 19th April 2017 at 05:08 AM..
Old 19th April 2017
  #6
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by boombapdame View Post
@benjiboko what label are you signed to and what genre(s) do you do?
I really don't think that's the point here.
Old 19th April 2017
  #7
Lives for gear
 
cavern's Avatar
 

That's life right. Some days you believe, some days you don't.
Do you connect with people? Do you believe your words?
Do you want to do something else?
Are you all in.
Sort it out.
Old 21st April 2017
  #8
Lives for gear
 
BarcelonaMusic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by terrible.dee View Post
Ok.....This I can speak on

Just so you know my history, I've been signed to two majors, couple big indies and several small ones, I've played Madison Square garden (opening act) but I doubt you've heard of me (Unless your into Glitter-Punk) Make my living now doing library cues

So, though I've never broken out, i've certainly been around the block and am here to tell you that I have experienced what you are going through almost EVERY record I've made (I usually hate the record by the time it's done, then I listen back 3-5 years later and I'm like "How was this not a hit?!?!"

The truth is, I've relied on outside pressures to push me through, left to my own devices (and I've always been the songwriter) I love the song then I hate it then love it then am so sick of love/hating it I just want it to go away.

It's my ego, tells me I'm a genius, then that I'm a no-talent hack it either wants me up or down that's how the ego works, what it doesn't want is for me to accept the opportunity in front of me, to do my best over a period of time working steadily and making committed decisions that once made, I do not let myself go back on, it does not want me to show up to work no different than a plumber put in an honest days labour and be happy with what I was able to do with the time allotted,

I suggest to you that you wouldn't have a deal if you weren't writing anything good,
What songs got you the deal? Record those, and whatever other songs fit that vibe, do demos and pass them out to 10 people you trust, fill the record up with the songs they think fit best, or if your instincts tell you which ones fit, do those and do not go back on the decision

The record you make in the time you have to make it is the record you are supposed to be making, the songs that got your foot in the door are the ones that should be on it,

If you don't have enough, wake up an hour early every day and write for a week or two, whatever is there at the end of it is what you record

get help from anyone you are working with, ask for the external pressure to commit and execute

above all have faith that you are doing what you are supposed to be doing and consider it your responsibility to the world that you get it done,

someone once told me first instincts are always right, the second guess is the devil having his say

Oh, and let me add this, forget the feeling of creative comfort, that is a fantasy, this is hard painful but also incredibly rewarding work, be ready to make painful decisions and not go back on them, it's what is called an "executive decision" and they need to be made.

Start making them: "We're going with mix 3" "Track two is axed, were not wasting any more time on it, track 5 is coming easier and fits better, were going with that" "This is the final vocal comp, lock it were going with it" "This is the track sequence" "We are cutting the busy guitar in that song" "We only get paid for 10 songs so we are cutting this down to ten, track 12 and 11 are gone, yes I know people like them, but I like track 9 and 10 so that's what's on the record, that's final, ok moving on what's next?" "Ok, that's it the records done, call Bernie and tell him we are ready to master......what? he wants stems? .....oh god.....
I understand the feeling and have totally been there. It sounds like maybe you`re with the wrong people?? You need to get your mojo back, and the only way I`ve found that is a lot of soul searching and re-invent myself as a different type of artist. Then it was "holy crap! Damn I`m good".It sounds like you need to start over. Something or someone is in your way. Something also tells me you know what that "something" is. Discard of it, and hold your head high.
Old 21st April 2017
  #9
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by benjiboko View Post
Hi everyone.

I signed a deal about 3 months ago but have been writing an album for about a year now.

In the last few months I've really lost interest in what I've written, but i could also wake up the next day and regain all my love for it... its really up and down.

I was in the studio for the last few days and very little happened... i really didn't want to be there and left early as i was feeling totally uninspired.

There is a lot of creativity buzzing about but for some reason i cant seem to tame it when I'm in the studio...

Its quite painful.

I just feel as if what I'm writing and doing is no good and i get lost in mixes/chords/options...

Any thoughts on how to tame my feelings of self-doubt and get back to a place of feeling comfortable and creative?

Thanks!
I'm familiar with your predicament. Self-sabotage is real. Some of these may help you.

Read, or listen to, "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield. Our ego, the resistance, works in any way that it can to keep things the same and prevent progress.

I'd also say give yourself a window of time to work with a solid end time per session. Stop when you are ahead, and feeling good, rather than spending time in a downward spiral beating yourself up for not being productive.

Use reference tracks as a model for what you're doing. Write something with a similar structure to something that exists like a frame to hang your work on stop when it is covered.

When you leave an idea for the day listen in another space and note three things only that you will improve or change. Do only those things next time. Rinse and repeat.

Meditate for ten minutes before every session.


Congratulations on the deal by the way.
Old 21st April 2017
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Reverb's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by terrible.dee View Post
I really don't think that's the point here.
Actually it is relevant. I'm surprised anyone is offering deals for unfinished albums. If it's a deal with a major label with a financial advance and consequences for failing to deliver, than that's a big deal and he needs to step up. If there was no advance and there are no tangible consequences and the label is just some indie label with no pull, then he could theoretically back out and move on to something else rather than stress over this.

In any event, people have ups and downs - sometimes you need to take a break for a few weeks or a month and come back to a project. The distance helps.
Old 21st April 2017
  #11
Lives for gear
 
The Beatsmith's Avatar
 

Read 'The War of Art' by Steven Pressfield.

It's no different for most others. Just keep going.

Last edited by The Beatsmith; 1st May 2017 at 10:37 PM..
Old 1st May 2017
  #12
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
This is a lot of good advice here. THANKYOU everyone who has given input.
It doesn't matter what label I'm signed too or what genre i do... this is about internal feelings not external achievements.

I've read the 'War of Art' and since then its been a manual to me. I've literally given it to girlfriends and said 'read this before we go any further'...
I'm going to read it again!

Another book which really helped me is 'Art & Fear'.

The main things i take out of this are as follows:

1. Slow down and do little bits at a time.
2. Don't be afraid to walk away when you're ahead.
3. Dont put too much pressure on myself to write a hit every day, or ever... just let it happen naturally.
4. Strip back.... throw some stuff out... minimalise... get rid of 'things' or people that are holding you down.

Happy to keep this thread open and let others input as i think there are a lot of us out there that could do with advice or a place to vent and share.

Thanks again everyone!
ps. here is a link to my music - www.soundcloud.com/iambenji
Old 2nd May 2017
  #13
Never lose faith in yourself. You might never find it again if you do.
Old 3rd May 2017
  #14
Lives for gear
 
BarcelonaMusic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnny nowhere View Post
Never lose faith in yourself. You might never find it again if you do.
Amen.
Old 3rd May 2017
  #15
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Reverb's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by benjiboko View Post


Thanks again everyone!
ps. here is a link to my music - www.soundcloud.com/iambenji
Fantastic tunes! Really diggin it! Get past your down because with that amount of talent it would be a shame to stop now.
Old 3rd May 2017
  #16
Lives for gear
 

Don't wait for some grand moment of clarity where you have all the answers. Make a decision on any little thing and move forward. Narrow your choices.
Choose from three snare sounds not 300.

We all want to cure cancer with music but we can't. We might however make someone sick feel better and that's a good thing.

Start throwing paint on a canvas. Some paintings will tell you what they need to be.

You can reach the same conclusion with more perspiration and less inspiration.

Btw, I wrote this down to remind myself. I have no idea what you should do!
Old 3rd May 2017
  #17
Here for the gear
 

Have a look at disney's moana with your kids. This "you're welcome" song chorus sounds damn good and can inspire you. Or chase the song that will make it for you at the moment.
Old 3rd May 2017
  #18
Gear Guru
 
kafka's Avatar
Yeah, I go through that all the time. When I lose inspiration, I work on mechanicals. Try writing songs and not completed recordings. Just work an idea until it sounds like like a hook. It could be any kind of idea. A sound, a phrase, a chord progression, a beat, some noise you heard out on the street. Anything at all. I'm listening to the rhythm of the wood chipper across the street right now. It could be the start of a song. Then, don't put too much into it. Just get a song structure around it, and call it done enough for now. If you come back to it later and it sounds like something real, then it had some value.

Your stuff sounds great, so don't get wrapped up around the idea that it's not working out at the moment. It'll all fit together. You're always going to be your own worst critic. You know what you wanted, and what didn't happen. You'll know all your pieces by their shortcomings. Don't sweat that, because nobody else can hear what your music wasn't. Get it done, and get it out there, and then move on to the next thing. If you're the kind of artist who can't stand to listen to his old stuff, than so be it. I think most musicians feel that way. It's a good thing, actually because it means you have momentum. Your music means something different to you than it does to your fans.

One thing I found helps is a big book of song lyrics. Most of them are pretty stupid when you read them, even the big monster hits. Lyrics aren't poetry. Almost nothing is good on it's own. It doesn't really rhyme. The rhythm is totally inconsistent. People extend words or come in late just to get them to fit in the verse. That's totally fine. That's what separates lyrics from poetry. Poetry has to stand on it's own. Lyrics have music to carry them along.
Old 4th May 2017
  #19
Lives for gear
 
BarcelonaMusic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kafka View Post
Yeah, I go through that all the time. When I lose inspiration, I work on mechanicals. Try writing songs and not completed recordings. Just work an idea until it sounds like like a hook. It could be any kind of idea. A sound, a phrase, a chord progression, a beat, some noise you heard out on the street. Anything at all. I'm listening to the rhythm of the wood chipper across the street right now. It could be the start of a song. Then, don't put too much into it. Just get a song structure around it, and call it done enough for now. If you come back to it later and it sounds like something real, then it had some value.

Your stuff sounds great, so don't get wrapped up around the idea that it's not working out at the moment. It'll all fit together. You're always going to be your own worst critic. You know what you wanted, and what didn't happen. You'll know all your pieces by their shortcomings. Don't sweat that, because nobody else can hear what your music wasn't. Get it done, and get it out there, and then move on to the next thing. If you're the kind of artist who can't stand to listen to his old stuff, than so be it. I think most musicians feel that way. It's a good thing, actually because it means you have momentum. Your music means something different to you than it does to your fans.

One thing I found helps is a big book of song lyrics. Most of them are pretty stupid when you read them, even the big monster hits. Lyrics aren't poetry. Almost nothing is good on it's own. It doesn't really rhyme. The rhythm is totally inconsistent. People extend words or come in late just to get them to fit in the verse. That's totally fine. That's what separates lyrics from poetry. Poetry has to stand on it's own. Lyrics have music to carry them along.
It really sounds like you`re struggling in more ways than one. There is something blocking you that either needs to be brought to light, or moved out of the way. I don`t know you, but I`ll say this- you`ve done this before, you know what it takes and you can do it if you want to. IF you want to.
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