Another year has passed and a new one lies before us. Hopefully all of us creatives feel we’ve grown a bit more and become better, all-around cooler human beings… Of course we have! What’s cooler than being a musician or artist or writer, etc.?

I have a few things on my mind I’d like to share about being a creative in 2020.

 Start Now with What You Have

First and foremost, stop procrastinating, putting off and delaying projects because of what you don’t have. Don’t wait for the ideal time, tools, or (… okay, I can’t think of another word starting with ‘T’. I’m sure you get the point.)

Back when I was in my early teens making progress as a guitar player, I wanted to write instrumental rock guitar songs. So, I purchased a 4-track cassette recorder and an Alesis SR16 drum machine. Ah, the world was mine!

Except I wasn’t very good at programming a drum machine especially for any odd time stuff I was writing. I also knew almost nothing about recording good guitar tones.

But did this stop me? No. I used what know-how I did have and the tools available and just wrote and recorded simpler compositions. I knew that as I grew and learned, I would be able to record more involved tunes.

I started with what I had and where I was.

 “All I need is this piece of gear or ________. Then I can get on with my song or painting or novel, etc.” Does this sound like you?  

I would argue that even if you did have that one elusive component, it’s likely you’d still put off creating.

Putting things off until conditions are ideal is a bad habit.

Take saving money, for example. People often say something like, “Once I can put away $100 a month, then I’ll start saving.” Well, if you can’t start by saving the $1 a month you can already afford, what makes you think you’ll save the $100?!

Start now, where you’re at with whatever tools you have.

Let Your Personality Come Through in What You Create

Second and foremost… Stop trying to create what others are creating. Seriously. You have your own personality that needs to come out in whatever you create. Let the world have it!

I do understand we draw inspiration from our favourite or most popular artists but let that be just another colour on your palette, not the only colour you use.

An Example and Rant About Sweep Picking

If I have to hear another guitar instrumental song with 99.9% sweep picking throughout, I think I’ll lose my mind!

I’m partially joking. Sorry, sweep pickers. It’s just my opinion of using one colour, which shouldn’t stop you from sweeping your way to shredding bliss. I really don’t mind it that much. I’m just using it as an example. (Feel free to throw things at me later.)

It does seem that guitar players in particular are caught in this YouTube world of “who can sweep pick the best”. If it is really you, then please sweep on. If you’re doing it because you want your place in the Hall of Who-Can-Shred-the-Fastest fame, please stop and just be yourself!

Okay. My rant is over. (P.S. I love tearing up the fretboard, too, so I have been just as guilty of this.)

Don’t Get Distracted By the Size of Your Audience

Third and foremost… Let’s stop looking at how many followers we have on social media or how many likes we get! I am the guiltiest here because I don’t have many of either one and would love to have more. So please, help a brother out and like me! Facebook | YouTube (Shamelessly pulling a woe-is-me here!)

Measuring the size of your audience is just a distraction. I admit I’d be over the moon if I had thousands of followers. I’m not going to lie about that. But let’s not create just to see how many followers and likes we can get.

Also, don’t stop creating because you have only one subscriber on YouTube and it’s your mom (or in my case my wife)!

Keep It Raw and Real

 I’ve shared what I think we should stop doing. So, what should we start doing?

Get going on that piece of creative genius that’s been lingering on your to-do list or in the back (or front) of your mind. Get raw and real with yourself and your creative process—no fakery. Create honest works of world-changing art!

You’ve probably heard it before, but I will restate it… Conditions will rarely be ideal, so quit waiting for them to be. Stop not doing and start doing!

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