Even on the toughest days when writing seems like it should be the furthest thing from my mind I still find a way to put something down on paper. It’s not that I’m fleeced into thinking that everything I write will be groundbreaking, but that the simple act of writing helps me to feel productive. Despite the fact that it may seem counterintuitive to feel productive when one forces oneself to put anything down on paper, the opposite is quite true. It rather feels like more of an accomplishment than anything, as one’s initial thought process might usually find such a task daunting in that moment. But even the dreaded blank-page syndrome can’t curtail the sense of productivity I feel when I see words—any words—on that page in front of me. Perhaps in the end, it’s simply that experience that encourages me to continue to write, even in my most off days.
You Can’t Hack the Music Industry in a Weekend
You can’t hack the music industry in a weekend by talking to a few artists and trying to extrapolate from there. This is a mistake I see music startups make all the time, and a reason I think that a lot of them fail. The music business is a much more complex system than I see people give it credit for, and I think this really throws a lot of would-be music startup founders. It’s also very different from the tech industry in a number of important ways, and I think that this also scares people away—making the music business seem like a losing battle, and an inevitable death. But it’s not.
I wrote here how and why music startups do indeed succeed because of passion, not in spite of it. Unlike other startup industries where an overflow of passion might very well blind founders from the realities of customer desires and industry trends, the music world works on its own axis. It’s much more intricate than is reported on by the press—so much so that I would even argue that many within the established model may have a skewed view of what’s possible and probable. Thus it’s precisely that overflow of passion that leads to one’s desired immersion in the culture, arguably the real key to building a successful music startup.
I recently read a short blog post from a little while ago, wherein the founder of a failed music startup wrote about the problems which were encountered. As I read through it, I noted a number of mistakes which I think should be deeply examined. Let it be noted here, though, that this is not an attack on the author, nor is it meant to call anyone out; as such, I will steer clear of any terminology (including specific pronouns) that might reveal the author or their failed company. Let’s begin.
1. A Few Conversations Aren’t Enough
In most startup industries, talking to your customer base is key, and fast iteration is the name of the game.
But music is different. Music is different because people seem to forget that it’s an industry that can’t be understood by reading a few articles on Wikipedia or having conversations with a few artists.
Who are these artists? Where are they from? How big is their fanbase? How rabid is their fanbase? How many albums or EP’s have they released? Are they teetering on the point of break up, or are they solid? Do they tour or don’t they? These are just a few questions you need to ask yourself before relying on the feedback given to you. It helps qualify the types of answers you get. Different types of artists think different types of ideas are “cool” (which means nothing until you qualify that word as well), and without understanding where in the ecosystem these artists exist, such feedback is essentially useless.
That was the author’s first mistake. The second one was much more egregious. Never ever stop talking to the artists. If you stop talking to them, you’re dead. Period. The music landscape changes every day, much faster than a lot of other companies, even within the context of tech. The artist who was nobody yesterday is a national name tomorrow. If you stop talking to artists and stop putting your name out there, you become irrelevant so fast it’s not funny.
This is not an industry where you can have some conversations, gather feedback, go back and recode something, then collect more feedback. You need to find a way to be coding and strengthening your reputation among artists simultaneously. The artists don’t care about your iteration cycle; the only thing that they understand and connect with is your passion and their voice through you.
2. Music Isn’t Neatly Splintered Like Other Industries
In the music industry, the first thing to understand is that things aren’t as splintered and unbundled as they are in other fields. In other arenas, being an expert in data analytics or e-commerce sales might very well be enough of a foundation on which to build a company. But in music, understanding only one aspect means not understanding all of them. This is where the author failed (or rather, misunderstood) in this respect.
“Sales” in the music business can mean different things to different people; it could mean sales of tickets, merchandise, music files, special gifts, etc. And it could mean understanding those sales from the point of view of an artist, fan, promoter, venue, etc. Thus to say that one isn’t a “music sales domain expert” essentially means that one doesn’t understand that there are a very many different types of music sales domain experts, and that they are all very intricately interconnected in different ways. In approaching a music startup with this skewed notion of understanding, I believe the author began on a misleadingly difficult path to come back from.
3. Never Keep Anything from the Artists.
Understand that this is an industry where artists and people are used to being taken advantage of. That’s the norm. For many artists, industry experience has taught them to be wary, and anyone who is familiar with the dynamics of the industry can understand why. Sexual harassment, broken promises, money troubles, and limited access to resources are just a couple of things that plague artists daily.
The music industry is full of all kinds of realities that music consumers rarely see, and even more rarely care about: breakups, bad blood, intra-band politics, collaborations, no money, live touring, ridiculous royalties payments, new releases, band tragedies, sleazy industry “professionals,” loyalty to particular people—these are all things that music startup founders should understand way before writing any code. If not, you’re doing it ass-backwards.
The meaning of this is very simple: if you keep secrets from or mislead the artists you want to work with, you’re dead. Done. Finished.
The author did the company a massive disservice by misleading an artist they were working with. Artists are not VC’s; they don’t give a shit if your product is subpar and you need to pull it back, if you’ve missed multiple ship dates, or even if the damn thing works right the first six times they try it. They don’t care. The only thing they really care about is not feeling taken advantage of. If you’re honest and up front, you’re golden, no matter how many ship dates you’ve missed. Their deepest loyalties (most artists, anyway) are to people who they perceive as supporting them the way their fans do. This is where you need to be speaking with passion, not tech logistics.
The music industry is very much like the tech industry when it comes to interconnectedness; everyone knows everyone. They tour together, play together, promote each other, and rely on each other to steer clear of sleazy people. Keeping secrets and misleading artists is one of the sure-fire ways to quickly find yourself a pariah in the music community. (And no, genre doesn’t matter. People talk, and word gets around. It doesn’t matter if you’re dealing with rappers or heavy metal bands, a bad reputation is a bad reputation).
4. Free Is Ubiquitous. Live With It.
Free is ubiquitous in the music industry. No matter how much people might try and fight it, it’s a big part of the future. Period. Fighting the free dynamic will only give you headaches and lead you faster toward the deadpool.
If your company can’t exist in a very competitive way within the free paradigm, you’re fighting a losing war. And no, royalties aren’t going to save anyone, so don’t believe that they will.
The fact of the matter is, many artists embrace free. They see it for all its benefits. Again, this has to do with understanding the differences between different types of artists. If you can’t even make those distinctions, then trying to understand this whole point is useless and thus irrelevant.
5. Artists Tend to Be Open-Minded By Nature
The reality of it is, many artists tend to be open-minded by nature. These are not engineers focused on the logistics of how realistic something is. They don’t care about market-cap, valuations, competition, or which programming language will run the best.
This is the music industry, it’s inherently filled with dreamers. These aren’t people who care which classes you took in college, or how many programming languages you know. They are perfectly happy to tour the country in a crappy van, and hang all their hopes on the notion that they might be able to make a living playing music. And there are a lot of them.
This means that if your ratio of yes:no doesn’t skew heavily towards yes (like 80-85%), you are doing something very, very wrong. In an industry where the content producers are dying to try new avenues every single day, if you don’t at least capture the attention of 8/10 with your pitch, you have a real problem.
Again, these are people who live on passion, and are not super bothered by logistics. If you put out a soft beta and it doesn’t load the first six times for an artist, no big deal. As long as they really believe in your vision, they will keep coming back. Period. And they will wait as long as they need to.
(In fact, if you’re not getting emails from artists apologizing for not signing up for your beta fast enough, you’re doing it wrong. This actually happens, and if your inbox isn’t full of apologies for delayed responses, you haven’t gotten through to your key demographic. I actually have emails sitting in my inbox from artists apologizing to me for not signing up for a small test fast enough, hoping that they haven’t lost their spots).
6. Artists Don’t Care About Your Software
Artists are not engineers. They don’t give a shit about your software. None. Zero. Zilch. They don’t care if it’s written in Ruby or Python. They don’t care how many iterations it’s gone through. Many times, unless they’re programmers themselves, they won’t understand what makes your software unique or special. And frankly, they don’t care to understand.
Artists care about what the software will let them do. What kinds of doors will it open for them, and how many of their fans will they be able to reach through those doors? Is your software just like SoundCloud’s or Spotify’s? Doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is their understanding of what the core dynamic is that the software is attempting to solve. This understanding is again distilled down to passion.
Most every artist I know—whether they’re from the U.S., Canada, Europe, or Australia— doesn’t give a shit how good your playlist-making algorithm is. It isn’t aimed at helping them, so they don’t care. If that’s your pitch, you should really reexamine your status.
This is where the author made a major error. There wasn’t a clear argument made for how this startup’s software would augment the passion dynamic of the artist. How would it affect the passion of the his fanbase? Would it give the him more dynamic tools to address the passions of the fans with regard to his music? Clearly there wasn’t enough of a distinction to dissuade him from using another platform.
This actually brings up another important point: if your music startup is so threatened by the existence of other music platforms that they can’t be used in conjunction, you have a major problem. The music landscape is populated by numerous services, platforms, apps, and companies. If you need to unseat one or more of these to be successful, go home and redesign your company.
7. You Need to Speak Their Language
All of this culminates in one singular, important point: you need to speak their language. Artists are like engineers, bankers, lawyers, doctors, or journalists in that they have their own language; their own buzzwords (both good and bad), their own tone, diction, emphasis, and colloquialisms. If you don’t know or understand these, you’re out of luck. No amount of good programming will make the difference if you can’t sell it to the artists.
If you want to be a music startup founder, you better have at least a few years’ experience in actually talking to artists. Understand that conversations between you and the artists, and you and the music fans will be very, very different. Do not speak to artists the way you would to music consumers. They are not the same as music consumers, and if you treat them as such, you label yourself as someone who can’t distinguish between the two.
If you don’t have a cofounder on your team to translate the tech speak into artist language, you will have a very, very hard time. There’s no substitute. Being comfortable talking to other startup engineers or investors means very little in this respect, except for knowing how to put words together in a sentence. Other than that, you’re speaking a completely different language than the artists you’re most likely talking to. Artists are not engineers, so assuming that they are will kill you.
To artists, metrics rarely, if ever, speak as loudly as passion. The passion is what comes across first and last. Most everything else sandwiched in between is somewhat secondary. If you’re a founder of a music startup, accept the fact that you’re going to be speaking to artists and music industry professionals (promoters, venues, organizers, merchandisers, etc.) a hell of a lot more than you’re going to be talking to your music consumers. And if you’re working in the major label paradigm, get used to talking to major labels (that means lots of lawyers and executives). All of these people have different dialects of the same language. This doesn’t mean that the music industry is impossible to crack for new music tech startups. It just means that if you’ve never been in the industry before, you’re starting very far behind the line.
You Need to Live This Passion
In the end, what this all means is that being a music startup founder has to come from a deep-seated passion. It has to almost be a nagging need that you wake up with. It’s not a one-and-done scenario, where if your first crack as a music startup doesn’t work you move on. If that’s the case, you don’t care enough—you don’t love it enough. You need to live this kind of passion. From how you dress to the slang you use, the little things matter, even if they shouldn’t. And trust me, the artists notice. It becomes an “us/them” mentality. You’re either with the artists—you know them, you understand them— or you’re not. There’s rarely a middle ground.
In the music industry, if you’re an artist and don’t use every tool at your disposal to try and grow a fanbase, you simply don’t care enough. That sounds callous, but it’s true. The same is true for music startups—the only thing that will really get you through to the other side is your passion. You need to breathe the relationships with your artists; you need to be friends with them on Facebook, know them by their first names, know their birthdays, why they started playing music, what their ambitions are—everything short of how they take their coffee, and maybe even that.
Your Code Can Wait—They Can’t
All of this information comes from conversations that never stop. If you stop messaging an artist because you’re busy fundraising, sorry, you’re dead. If you can’t be bothered to respond to their emails because you’re too busy fixing you’re code, sorry, they don’t care, you’re finished. Your code can wait—they can’t and they won’t.
Ironically, this is what I find the most invigorating about being a music startup founder. I love talking to the artists and contacts—I thrive on it. I’ll respond to Facebook messages from artists in Canada, Denmark, Ireland, or California at 4 AM. And I do it because I love it. If you’d rather be writing code at 4 AM than talking to artists in New York or Germany, don’t do a music startup. Do something else that’s not people-based. Because in the end, you can’t hack your way into personal relationships. These relationships take time and care—they don’t happen on your schedule just because you’re trying to code your next app update.
But the flip-side is also true. If you have them going in, you’re lightyears ahead. You have a built-in base that’s invaluable. That’s how you really need to build a music startup: based on the relationships you develop with the artists. Everything else flows from that.
Yesterday was May 8th, 2015. For those of you out there who are history nerds, yesterday marked the 7th anniversary of one of the most pivotal days in world history: VE Day, May 8th, 1945. Though it seems so far in the past for today’s kids in grade school now, Victory in Europe Day marked a significant turning point in the 20th century—like 9/11 or the JFK assassination, most people who were around remember exactly where they were when they received the news of victory in Europe.
Yet I saw surprisingly little fanfare online yesterday, especially for the 70th anniversary of such a momentous day in history. It made me wonder if people simply forgot, or if as we move farther away from the actual day, it seems to recede into history (for me though, I don’t think it’s the second). It also occurred to me that—sad as it is—many (if not most) of those who were around during VE Day in 1945 aren’t with us anymore. It’s the natural order of life—people pass away, but it does put into perspective things that must have been so momentous to them and that to us perhaps seem less so.
I’m not sure that I think that people simply forgot what yesterday was, but perhaps most decided to take in the anniversary with less fanfare than we summon up for Memorial Day. Perhaps family cookouts and pool parties really aren’t the way to celebrate—but also remember—the near end (victory in the Pacific wouldn’t come for another few months) of one of the most catastrophic wars in history. The historian in me observed yesterday with a certain sense of wistfulness. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one.
Inasmuch as I would like to write about intense topics every day, I find that one reaches a point where such topics are too tough to tackle without the proper mindset. Such a mindset isn’t something you (or I) can will yourself (myself) into. It’s something that comes from the sometimes spontaneous (sometimes ephemeral) desire to take a shot at the universe. Poetic as that might sound, the spontaneous quality is something I find helps me create pieces that possess a keener energy than some which I slave over for days or even weeks at a time.
The poetic nature of spontaneity and ephemerality lend to one’s writing a mercurial quality that makes it even more like art than it might otherwise be. It’s such an artistic flavor that makes less dramatic posts both more entertaining and more engaging. For that, I understand that not every post will be able to take on such a quality, but I know that by willing myself into it unnaturally, such a quality would surely elude my writing. Thus, for now, I’ll let my mind settle as I wait for the mercurial ephemerality to return to it.
Today was day 2 of TechCrunch Disrupt in New York, but what really excited me today was the announcement by a friend of mine that she’s starting a small arts and writing publication. As much as I enjoyed watching TCDisrupt today, it was almost overshadowed in a sense by getting that message in my inbox. I’m still incredibly attached to my writing (as one can tell) and my art, and the chance to present it publicly (however minor) thrills me beyond measure. I suppose that’s part of identifying as an artist: any possibility of an exhibition of your work immediately takes on a whole new exciting tone when one considers it as a viable possibility.
Delusions of grandeur aside, the thrill that comes from doing a small art exhibition, or seeing a piece of yours published somewhere other than your own blog, is something that we creatives live for. In the end, it’s not about being the next great whatever; it’s about creating something and knowing that someone somewhere will see it. That dynamic of produce and consume is innate in all creative souls, and something which drives us every morning to make something new. For me, I’ll be looking into my portfolio soon to see which pieces I’d like to send her first.
I often think that I would like to write a screenplay. Nothing major, but something to augment the other forms of writing I already have in my portfolio. Just as a programmer sets out to learn a new coding language, so too do I find that only through continuous expansion of my writing skills will I be able to best serve myself in life, both personally and professionally.
Yet inasmuch as I would like to take a week and put pen to paper (or keyboard, as the case my be), I nonetheless find myself somewhat shy about attacking a new form of communication and expression that I have no experience in. This is what confuses me greatly.
I should have no hesitation in it—after all I’m quite comfortable writing poetry or short stories, things which others might never dream of spending their free time doing. But just as learning a new language (programming or otherwise) is daunting in the beginning, so too do I look up at the precipice above me and wonder how I could ever make it to the top and master such a craft. Yet in the end, I still force myself to produce a few words, even if they’ll be gone in the morning. The sheer act of being able to produce something—if only for a time being—is something that spurs me on to continue to hone new crafts.
It’s been a busy week, and some of the posts I put up over the past few days have been pretty intense. But not every day is a diehard battle, and it’s nice to have a moment to write in what feels like a respite from the storm. It makes the writing feel deeper, and not so urgent. The deadlines can get old after a while, and the “every minute counts” mentality is adrenalizing, but exhausting thereafter.
I love the energy I get from writing a piece that addresses something specific, but I love these more amorphous, ambiguous posts just as much. The specific pieces can create a “mill” feel sometimes, and in the moments when I find myself able and free to write about anything (or nothing), I feel able to recharge for the next focussed piece. It sounds perhaps more poetic, but the benefits of writing just to write greatly outweigh the drawbacks (if there are any). I’ll find more specific topics to cover over the weekend (in fact, I have a list), but for now I’m content to simply sit at my computer and see what flows onto the page.
Full disclosure: I am a music startup founder.
Right now my earbuds are in, and my music is turned up so loud I can feel my spine shaking. Not because I’m angry or sad, but because I’m determined. I’m determined to put to rest the jaded notions that surround music startups, even if it takes me more than one post to do it.
I read an article on Medium today that postulated that part of the problem with music-tech startups is the passion which those music-tech founders have for their products or services. The piece concluded with this sentence: “Passion is great, but in the end, it often fades.” False.
The article, though written I’m sure with the best of intentions at shining a light on the challenges of music startups in the tech arena, is fraught with generalizations and assumptions, none of which are good to have for an objective point of view. The piece referenced a talk from Google User Experience Researcher Tomer Sharon, using it to bolster the premise that “music startups go at it about all wrong” (of course I’m taking some creative license here, but that seems to me to be the basic paraphrase of the piece).
In his talk which the piece points to, are six main points about executing the wrong plan, and how this dynamic seems to plague numerous founders. By the author’s own admission, the talk wasn’t music startup-focused, and the resulting analysis is just a serious of personal views. The application of these points to the large deadpool of failed music startups is understandable. After all it makes sense to look at a slew of failed projects and calculate the correlation and causation of their respective deaths. However, the piece takes too much latitude in my opinion, and shines a shadow on all future music startups for the sake of bolstering a (misleading) argument in the present.
The (Asserted) Problems and the Responses
Here are my responses to the six points in the talk, and subsequently in the article (the asserted points are paraphrased for the sake of simplicity:
Asserted Problem #1. Founders assume that their personal struggles are mirrored by a larger struggle that the world needs a remedy for (which the author admitted is something that does happen). Further, most people don’t care as much about music; most everyone besides you and your music friends is essentially a casual listener, and thus an insignificant statistic and/or demographic.
Response #1. In many areas, and in music as well, there are problems that avid fans/users identify that other, “more casual users/listeners,” might not identify until they can see an improvement (the proverbial before and after picture). Not every identification of a problem can or needs to come from a “casual” user. Sometimes it takes a trained and experienced eye to understand and be able to identify something as broken and to be able to innovate a way to fix it.
This has nothing to do with the passion that music startup founders have for music. It has to do with their ability to dissect an industry that they have come to know better than most, and be able to see room for innovation within it. The generalized statement that “most people don’t care as much about music as you do” is misleadingly false.
It first assumes that one (the founder) cares too much about music, or is in same way too in love with music so as not to be able to strategize accordingly. Secondly, it presumes to know what the music founder has in mind for an innovation, and already moves to the assumption that such an innovation will fail. And lastly, it presumes to generalize peoples’ unique affections for music without citing any real statistical proof.
People do care about music—in fact they care a lot. That’s the reason that Napster was such a snafu in 2000, and the reason that the music space will be the next crowded arena as numerous companies try to cut a niche in the space. People do care, though with each person at a varying degree, how can one possibly know that “most people don’t care as much as you do[?]”
Asserted Problem #2. Startup founders seek validation from friends and family, who tend to be biased.
Response #2. This is a problem that all startups face, not just music startups. The piece’s assertion that founders of a music startup essentially only congregate with similarly “music obsessed” individuals presumes to know the particular group dynamics of every music startup founder.
I am a music startup founder, but my social circles are filled with people who populate the music, tech, theater, science, medical, and legal fields. Therefore, to reduce my social circles down to individuals who “think like I do” is fairly pandering and presumptuous.
Asserted Problem #3. Listening to users rather than observing their behavior can lead to disaster, as it can lead to building something people say they want, as opposed to something they will actually use.
Response #3. Much like point #2, this is a conundrum that plagues all startups, not simply music-related ones. Therefore, it should be relegated to the list of startup mistakes to avoid, not used as a reason to forego building a music startup.
The author’s use of the company Jukely as a buttress for the argument actually brings into question the author’s own view of the music industry. The analysis is filled with wild generalizations like “[t]he live music audience [is mostly] made up of people in their twenties” and that “many people [can’t stay out late and see music because] they have a career and kids to think about.”
The former is false because it’s a gross generalization (and assumption, for that matter), of the age-range of all music-goers everywhere, failing to take into account different music scenes, tastes, geographical dynamics, or any number of other factors. The latter is negated (and thereby false) because it presumes to know the intra-familial and career dynamics, realities, and responsibilities of all music-goers everywhere. As a result, the whole analysis can’t be put forward in any sort of objective way, and must therefore be taken as a matter of opinion, not a matter of fact.
Asserted Problem #4. Most music startups don’t test their riskiest assumptions.
Response #4. This entire point negates itself because it purports to know every assumption that every music startup has, and every failure that came as result of ignoring those assumptions. Again, gross over-generalization is the culprit here.
In the midst of arguing point #4, the author makes a bold statement that I can personally bear witness to as wholly false. The author writes: “The other risk startups take when entering the music space is that they simply don’t know anything about the music business.” I am a music startup founder, and I have spent nearly a decade in the music industry.
Though the author does make a good point—that the “launch first, ask questions later” approach isn’t suited well to the music industry—the point is negated by the assumption that all music startup founders are simply overzealous music fans with no understanding of the inner workings of the music business. I for one take offense to that.
I was in a band in high school, and after graduating, took a gap year before college, during which I was a music journalist. I continued my journalism well into my college career, even as I simultaneously ran a radio show and conversed with artists daily. In fact, I had press access at Warped Tour in 2012 precisely because of the connections I’d made and things I’d learned during my tenure as a journalist and DJ. All of these experiences and understanding are what I draw on every day to help formulate the best decisions for my music startup.
Asserted Problem #5. Music startup founders become obsessed with can I build it, and lose sight of should I build it.
Response #5. Again, this is a problem that all startups must contend with. It seems that the author takes the most general points of avoidance made to most and/or all startups and sets them up as tools to bolster an argument that takes aim at music startups specifically. But in reality, if these are simply more general avoidances (seeing a pattern here?), then they have no place in this argument anyway, and are thus negated by their own generalization.
Asserted Problem/Response #6. The author actually doesn’t actually make a point #6. I assume it was meant to be taken or gleaned from the concluding paragraphs, but all that is left at the end of the piece is more generalizing. Statements like “[t]he music tech business is a graveyard littered with startups that seem cool at the time, [but no one wants or needs]” and “[the music founders] all went to SXSW, and lit some money, and crashed and burned a few years later” are more presumptuous than perhaps anything else in the piece.
The former of the statements asserts that no music founder could ever possibly create a music app or service people want/need, and the latter elevates SXSW to the pinnacle of godhood in the realm of music festivals. Yet if the author was familiar with the trends and grumblings that go on below the surface, then it would be understood that SXSW has in fact become sour to many independent music fans in recent years, as it leans further towards a mainstream agenda.
The last paragraph in particular is annoyingly pandering; its tone and diction betray a bitter and jaded writer using generalizations to bolster arguments of arrogance and assumptions.
The Last, False Sentence
Which brings us back to the last sentence yet again: “Passion is great, but in the end, it often fades.” Clearly the author is surrounded by other jaded personalities who forgot (or perhaps never knew) why most people get into the music business in the first place. It’s not about being the next Led Zeppelin or being rich and famous (though it’s fun to entertain fantasies); it’s because our passion is visceral—a part of us that we can’t turn off and on at will. It just exists as a nagging need, like the need to breathe when we wake up in the morning.
Passion can transform or ebb, but it rarely fades in the way that the author asserts it does. In the end, many of us in the music industry chose this business not because we wanted to solve some major problem (not at first); we chose it because it speaks to us in a way few other things do. That passion doesn’t fade. If anything, it gets stronger with every subsequent experience.
As I write more and more of these posts, I’m noticing that they’re becoming more personal. Of course there are still those posts which are more hard-hitting news-wise, but still some days I find myself tackling new subject matter like philosophy, history, sociological experiences, and even writing in general. Though I might have resisted this trend in previous years and dismissed it too much as “personal journal” dynamic unfit for a public blog, it seems more appropriate now than ever.
When I zoom out and look at the big picture dynamics at play, I can begin to see trends at play I might have missed upon my previous dismissals. Things begin to play out in new contexts, and as thought processes are laid over one another, they begin to underscore details that otherwise might have gone unnoticed.
We can’t be trained to think like this initially, no matter how much we wish we could be, or how much we try. This thought process and worldview is only something that comes from the experiences that time gives to us, and our motivation to place those experiences over one another and look at the picture which they reveal when we do so. Bigger pictures appear every day, and if we have the right set of lids up to look at them, I’m beginning to understand the broader dynamics and trends which we will be able to discern.
The goal to write every day isn’t as enchanting as it was a few weeks ago. On days like today, its become a struggle just to complete a post.
Yet I don’t think this is because of writer’s block, or because writing every day is a burden on my schedule. Rather, I think it’s because writing every day has become so easy that it contributes some days to a feeling a languid procrastination; a thought process of: I’ll write later in the day, and it’ll be fine.
It doesn’t make me lazy to decide to write later in the day; some days it’s been the only time I’ve had a moment to collect my thoughts. But I am realizing that the urgency of putting pen to paper (so to speak) dwindles some days by the evening time. In so many ways, I need “the struggle” to keep pushing words out because the urgency becomes about the goal I’ve set for myself. I’ve become so entrenched in what I’m doing, that I don’t want a day to pass without finding a moment to write.
This struggle isn’t something that I run from, though. It seems to provide just the right amount of flame for me (at least in current moment). I’ll see how things progress, but for now, the struggle aids me in completing my goal every day. Maybe a little struggle is a good thing.