Writing, producing and releasing music DIY style can open up various corridors of thought and self-critique. Depending on the experiences you are making, it can be a smooth, ride, or a bumpy – sometimes even harsh – journey.
And while there’s no golden rule to establishing pure joy within the now, there are strategies that may help. Not formulas, but ways of re-framing your situation within the musical sphere.
They can help you detect the subtle ways in which your mind plays tricks on itself. Because more often than not, the inner critic is the harshest. And yet, it’s not always the most adept at assessing a situation in its full scope.
Here are some ways to reset your inner bullshit radar. To establish productive self-critique and facilitate constant, creative evolution.
Calibrate your motivational anchors
How often do you take a step back, listen, and really ask yourself why something sounds the way it sounds? Not in production terms or compositional factors.
Double check your motivational anchors – meaning why you are actually working on something. Are you working in a certain direction or aesthetic to please a fictitious audience? Are you catering to the needs of a potential label? Or are you doing it because it might blend with a type of fashion?
You can’t know until you take a moment and really answer those questions. Or maybe a completely different set. This line of questioning can be adapted to other areas also: Visual campaigns, live plans, release strategies.
Dig deep and answer the “why” question – more often than not, it will re-calibrate your workflow, leading to a more authentic and pleasing outcome.
Cherish your biggest critic
Now is the time to embrace that nay-saying friend or foe you always tried to avoid.
Lay down your defense mechanisms and open up to the possibility of outside interference. Not to shake you up, but to burn down your existing routines and ways of doing things. Face your biggest critic openly and try to accept at least one takeaway.
Even if you disagree with everything you meet, opening your ears to this kind of judgment may actually surprise you. You’ll probably discover that your inner critic tends to lash out far worse than even the gravest outside viewpoint.
Mute the periphery
Stop looking left and right.
Listening sessions are great, but if you’re trying to reset your inner, creative radar, you will always find yourself chasing some outside aesthetic or notion. To get back to the untainted space, you might want to try muting the periphery.
Be aware of how outside stimuli influence the way you perceive and evaluate your own output. If you have developed the tendency to lean towards new styles or ideas after being exposed to them – make a habit out of tapping into your own first.
Assume a beginner’s mind
This is somewhat of a zen approach. Oftentimes, development and growth is much more obvious to the beginner than the seasoned pro. Also, the beginner’s mind tends to view things with a hint of untouched nativity, a great mindset not to be underestimated.
By re-developing a pure, naive sense of music making, you detach from possible performance driven aspects of the game.
You put music first and let things play out the way they should. You create without agenda, which can be incredibly liberating and stimulating.