You want to know how to write hit music?
Welcome to the club… I have tons of ideas, but I get bored quickly. This makes me sad because I know–deep down–in the depths of my very soul–if I want to bring my ideas to life I have to focus!
Why, oh why, is it so freakin’ hard for myself and many other musicians to do that? I have a term for this. I call it “Creative Constipation.”
Here are the symptoms:
- Working hard with little results
- Mental exhaustion–followed by boredom and “idea abandonment”
- Frustration–things “sounded better” in your head
- Unfinished passion projects–piles/stacks of ideas you never finished (digital or physical)
Basically, we have so many ideas and it’s hard to just pick one and stick with it.
So many ideas, so little time
What do you do? When it comes to improving creative focus, there are plenty of suggestions out there. The problem is that their too vague and don’t give real results–at least from what I’ve experienced. I’ve found a solution that finally works, and that’s what this article is all about!
Several weeks ago, I had a convo with Mr. Tom Sterner, author of The Practicing Mind, an awesome book on enhancing creativity and improving focus. In our interview (which you can listen to here) Mr. Sterner explains why we musicians have trouble focusing. Turns out, it’s super important for creative types to learn how to pick apart our thoughts and breakdown ideas.
The Key To Staying Focused
Train yourself to recognize when you’re stifling your creativity We often think things are the way they are based on how we see them but that’s not always true–it’s how we perceive them to be, based on our own experiences, conditioning and beliefs.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. But the problem is it kills our creativity because we limit ourselves to one tiny frame of reference. For example, when “bad” things happen–a band member quits, low turnout for a gig, uninspiring band practice–that usually frustrate us. And, if we let them, they can also limit our creative output.
It’s a breath of fresh air to realize you can look at these situations differently. Instead of exhausting your creative reservoirs these experiences can fill them! Another step to focusing clearly is to know where you’re going. ie: to know what you’re actually focusing on and the next steps to move forward. I have a sweet–free–video training series all about this. If you want it, feel free to.
One evening, a band that I managed at the time had a gig. The venue that promised us world but didn’t deliver). So, of course, the guys called me. They we’re irate.
“Don’t look at the sucky stuff,” I said. “Look for the opportunities and make this show worth your while.”
And guess what? They did! It was a great decision and turned into an awesome show. All because they chose thoughts that would move them forward, flexing their creative muscles instead of exhausting them–if you’ve signed up for the free course, you’ll see the financial results of that decision!
The key to staying focused is learning how to bridle ideas.
If you don’t know how to do that, then your creativity–your biggest strength–can become a weakness! Even during tough situations, you’re imagination will run wild and if you can’t say “shut up brain” and then have it obey, then you can’t turn bad stuff around as easily.
You want to teach yourself how to look at them as something to interpret instead of as being concrete. In our interview, Mr. Sterner gives a good example of this, describing a plane crash: the pilot has two options.
One: They can panic. “Oh, no. I’m gonna dieeee!”–and they do.
Two: They calm themselves and examine the equipment and flight manual. Then they pull the plane up and ultimately survive.
That was a dramatic example (I have to make sure you’re paying attention). The point is you can choose your thoughts; some help you get what you want, and others don’t. If you want to write hit music then you want to train yourself to recognize the difference!
*Note from Greg* Check out my interviews with Tommy Darker–a British chap with an epic beard. He and I discuss that musicians–and creative people in general–default to thinking in ways that stop us from getting the things that we want.
How to focus
Thought awareness training: five minutes every day. Thought awareness training is the key to teaching yourself how to stay focus and harness creativity! This is what you do:
- Sit straight-up in a chair–or in whatever position you find comfortable
- Set a timer for 5 minutes
- Close your eyes and focus on your breath–nothing else
- Breathing is boring, so your mind will begin to drift–when that happens refocus on your breathing
- Keep doing that until the timer beeps
Since my interview with Tom Sterner, I’ve meditated 5 minutes every morning. My ability to focus has improved significantly–especially when I’m on my computer. (It’s easy to get distracted when there are so many cat videos to watch.)
“Your Honor, I object!”
I used to believe that thought awareness training (meditation) was for Buddha and Hippies–it isn’t. It is, however, unbelievably helpful for training your brain to focus. Musicians and creative people are unfocused by default. When it comes to developing real focus–and harnessing creativity–nothing works better than training for 5 minutes every morning.
What do you think about meditating to help you get more focus? Do you think it’s for Hippies, or are you going to give it a shot? Let me know in the comments below.
\m/…Rock on and prosper…\m/
*Note from Greg* I want everything I publish on MusicianMonster to be useful to you. I don’t want to give “quick-fix” advice. I believe we are at a turning point in the history of music. We musicians have never had so many opportunities to be successful, and I think the reason we don’t succeed is because we get in our own way!(Unfortunately, I learned that the hard way.) Quick fixes can solve this. That’s why I obsess over substance. I don’t give suggestions unless that truly work, either for myself or the successful musicians I interview. So, if you’re fed-up being where you’re at–and ready to DO something about it–then REGISTER NOW to for VIP status on MusicianMonster. When you do, you’ll get “monstrous” tips that you won’t find on the site, exclusive updates and a whole lot more.