I'm a big fan of timeboxing. Setting a deadline, and committing to meeting it with something in hand, is a very powerful tool.
I've always enjoyed writing songs, but trying to get any sort of coherent effort together and in a "releasable" state has always been a problem. There's always one more rough edge to the recording, one more lyric to fix, one more vocal to re-record (hopefully better this time), one more different way to try the mix, and so on.
Sound familiar? It's a lot like a software project. In either case, left to our own devices, we'd just noodle around forever and probably never release anything, because it's not yet perfect.
So along comes the RPMChallenge — an invitation to record and release a full album (ten songs or 35 minutes worth) in a month. And they chose the shortest month, February, damn them. I figured I'd give it a shot. Why not?
It was a really great experience. I felt the power of emergence, as ideas came together with no preconceptions. I got better at quickly loading up templates in various pieces of software, and using them together.
I got better at doing it by doing it, which is the only way, after all.
It felt good to be done. And no, it's not perfect. I could easily go back and tweak the music, lyrics, and production, with diminishing returns, forever.
But I won't.
Perfection is an asymptote; you can steadily approach it, but never quite reach it. At some point, you've just got to cut the cord and proclaim it "good enough" for the context at hand. Perfect is the enemy of the good. And done kinda trumps them all in the end.
So I proclaim my 28-day timebox experiment done. It's a little pop, rock, jazz, and even a somber beer bottle solo. You can give a listen over at:
You can listen online for free, or download it all if you provide your email address (don't worry, I won't spam you or sell it, just want to let you know about my next project).
If you enjoy it, or despise it, please email me and let me know.
And if you've got something you really want or need to get done, just get out the calendar. Mark the deadline. And work a little, each chance you get, towards it.