Saturday, April 7, 2012

Making Time

What is it that holds me back from finishing one of my new songs and getting it out on the web? This last weekend, I worked on a sewing project, something I have wanted to do for a long time. What moved me forward with this project was that I “simply” made the time to do the work. Now I am wearing the fruits of my labor. I had to choose to focus on this project rather than on other things. I had to center on each particular part of the work until it was done. And, for it to be truly done, I had to do each bit well.

Making time means to choose to put one’s focus on something. To start, there are questions to be asked—What exactly must be done? What is the first step? Are all the tools and materials at hand? Setting about to do any kind of creative work is very intentional, and that is a hallmark of making time. This is not about whether or not something is important. The choice has been made, the choice to give one pointed focus to something that is important.

Making time for something is different than finding time. Making time clears away confusion and assigns precious life-time to a work (which can be small or big). There is no doubt or choosing at this point—the work and its process is simply moved to the top of the list and given full attention.

My songs are becoming more complicated to record, a direction and a process that delights me. Each one involves the initial inspiration, a great deal of instrumental practice, trial and error to find the right instrumental and vocal combinations, and lots of editing.

So how do I dig into this process and move through the necessary challenges? The song I am currently working on has three finished instrumental tracks. I am working on a melody track and, when it is finished, the instrumental portion of the song is complete. However, there is another round of editing between here and there, and there are vocals to arrange, record and edit.

So, I must make time for this. I must say “this is what I will work on” and focus my time and attention on it. And that, in essence, is what making time is all about. To focus one’s time is to take the ability to focus to a new level. We make time by focusing it, by wielding time itself as a tool. It is our tool for the using. It is our tool for creating. We have the skill to use it—if only we will.