Songwriting Madness in Winter

 

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At Hector Wine Company November 2017

We were at Hector Wine Company two days before Christmas, listening to The Blind Spots when the owner, who is friends with Alan, asked when we were going to play there. He said he had openings on all the Friday nights in February and we could have our pick. So Alan told him that we could do the last Friday night, February 23. I was inwardly panicking, my heart pounding and dread replacing the happiness I had felt at being out, enjoying the evening during the holiday season.

Here’s why I panicked: it’s an all-originals show that we’ll be putting on and we only had a handful of originals penned. How were we going to write 20-25 songs in two months? Alan, ever the optimist, thought it was completely within the realm of possibility. So is being stressed to the max and writing every spare minute we have!

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My songwriting notebook

Fast forward to this week, by which time we’re nearing fifteen completed songs. Completing the number of songs we need feels more like a possibility, but it’s going to continue to be stressful. I need to be disciplined to write during my mentally sharpest hours, while making time to create new products for my Etsy/craft business¬†Delicata House, spend time with my kids, exercise, cook, clean, etc.

It’s a huge challenge, but we will meet it–we have to–and the reward will be that we’ll have access to several more local venues that only allow originals to be played. So if it’s been quiet on the blog lately and if it continues to be for the next three weeks, blame it on Alan. No, just kidding, it’ll just be that I’m songwriting my heart out. When we get some of these tracks recorded, I’ll share a link. In the meantime, if you’d like to check us out, here’s a link to the covers and one original we currently have on SoundCloud.

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Thanksgiving and Parkinson’s Law

 

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I only just heard about Parkinson’s Law this year, although I’ve lived it my entire life. Here it is: “Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” It’s so true! If I have a month to prepare for a musical performance, I take that long; if I have a week, well, that’s how long it takes too.

And this carries over into how many possessions we acquire and store, how much food we consume, etc. If we have a large plate for dinner, we will fill it and eat everything on it. If we have a lot of closet space, or a garage, we’ll accumulate stuff until we fill the available space. This article from Medium posits that constraints are the best thing you can work with. Give yourself a shorter time to complete tasks and you’ll be more productive.

This article shows how you can use Parkinson’s Law to your advantage. I was thinking about Thanksgiving preparations, in particular. I guess we should all try making the list and then allotting ourselves a certain amount of time for each task.

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For example, I need to make sweet potato casserole, pumpkin pie, pecan pie and chocolate pie, all tomorrow. Yikes! All gluten free and dairy free. When I’ve made them and if they’re a success, I’ll share photos and recipes with you…

But I also need to take a trip around the corner to the Amish market to purchase spices for mulled cider and flax seed for my friend’s flax and lavender pillows. And then sew up the pillows. That feels like a lot. So I’ve got only one day and am going to become a pie making and flax warming pillow machine. I’m giving myself three and a half hours for the food and two hours for the pillows, plus a half hour for the shopping trip. By sundown tomorrow, I’ll be looking forward to an evening of reading and writing.

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I’ll report back on how my day goes…

What’s on your day-before-Thanksgiving Day list?