There's a quote from Hemingway that says: "Write drunk, edit sober."
It stuck with me since I've been in the habit of having a system that I wouldn't mind getting out of, where the 2 main sources of the problems are chemical dependence and certain self-imposed limits I put on myself before working on something.
The first problem is is that I don't want to start or continue to work on something unless I feel like I have 8+ hours to do it.
But, there's this "15-minute idea" that's been floating around the internets regarding artistry, where everyday, you work on something for at least 15 minutes; it doesn't really matter what you do; it's just the fact that you're doing something towards completion. It's actually pretty fucking helpful and something I'd like to condition myself to everyday.
The 2nd problem is regarding "motivation". This is where the chemical dependence comes in. I either have a jug of wine or a 12 pack before I start working on something. Because I know I have my precious space of 8+ hours to devote entirely to making music, I feel more motivated to get shit done when I get hyped up after a few drinks; this is where I start to work on shit, and become productive (and I do like the fact that I can listen to something the next day with "fresh ears" because I may not have remembered everything I did), but when I start to get in the "3rd Act" of my drinking is when I want to take a toke or 2, and THAT'S when I'll just start listening to shit over and over again, just enjoying it, so production slows down. At worst, the end result may cause some abstractions (good and bad), or just plain going backwards, though that is more on the rare side.
No doubt about the alcholism; I'd really love to get out of that habit without going to meetings or whatever. The main point kind of goes back to those people who keep straight and push out consistent quality with quantity. But there is this principle in my core that says that going into altered states is part of our job/being; it's part of what makes us who we are and is central to the great things that we produce (any form of art). I guess half of it comes from my interest in shamanism and the other half the history of great artists.
I was an everyday weed smoker for over ten years until I slowed around 6 years ago and would just take a toke with friends or buy the occasional eighth a few times a year, because now I only get interested in smoking after getting drunk and the only thing I think about when I'm high is wanting to write something, so I reserve the weed for production time.
There's also been clumps of time when I've written sober for a good amount of time and then months later I'd give songs the acid test by listening to them high, and I'd be surprised and satisfied.
So, I guess from my point of view, is to just start using the healthy alternatives, like sitting on the shitter and taking notes (good one!), or carrying a notepad everywhere, record ideas into your phone or whatever, and most importantly, stop thinking so much
about what you're going to do and just fire up Live and start SOMETHING and go with it. The hardest part is always getting out of the usual habit but, like exercise, it's not as much of a hassle as you think once you're in it + you'll feel better for just doing it.
If you need to stay off the cigs, then you need to remove every trace of smoking paraphanelia, and like most of us who like to drink, stop drinking, cuz God knows I smoke like David Koresh when I'm drinking. The problem is, I enjoy it.
beats me wrote:
There's hope, brother!
Here's what ya do for a healthy alternative.
1. Get involved with a new lady who has personality flaws you initially see as cute but will later determine were huge red flags.
2. Fall in love despite all that.
3. Get predictably emotionally crushed. See: cute/huge red flags
4. Once the thoughts of suicide become manageable fire up your DAW and churn out an album or two's worth of quality tracks.
5. Once you've milked that experience, repeat.
And #3 just happened to me today! The great break-up! What a great way to start the new year!
So what did I do? I went to the store to get more smokes and a jug of wine and *expect* to do what I haven't done in a long time. Just some good ol rock jammin on guitar and bass.
Juan, I hope you're off the H and C. Good for you if you are. Coke makes me feel like a robot (though I'd love to write a season of a tv show if I had a weekend with it)