Are you DONE? What does DONE even mean???
After decades of creating and performing my own music, my definition of ‘done’ means ‘in sharable form.’
My whole life I’ve been a composing-perfomer and ’til now, “Done” meant “sharable by me on stage.” So 90% of my music is finished … as long as I’m there with it.
BUT … that means I always have to be there in person.
So what happens when I’m not?? ‘Til now that hasn’t been an issue. Even when I perform as soloist with orchestras, I’ve written out all the music … except my own part, which, I just ‘know.’
BUT … things are changing. Other harp soloists now want to play these pieces. So the music needs to be at a NEW state of done. A new state of “sharable” that’s possible even when I’m not there.
And here’s the problem: I’ve always worked to deadline. And there’s no deadline for this.
Enter the “other” me.
The “other” me coaches artists in completing and sharing their work in my Harness Your Muse mentorship program. So how do I help MYSELF complete and share this new state of ‘doneness’?Other soloists want to play these pieces so they need to be at a NEW state of 'done' Click To Tweet
How to get “done’ without a Deadline…
For years I’ve meant to complete the harp soloist’s part for a piece called “Siana’s Dream: The Music Box,” for harp and orchestra. Everything else is done: all the orchestra parts, the conductor’s part. Only the soloist’s part is missing measures where I normally improvise.
I committed to work on it 30 minutes a day. But I know committing isn’t enough. If I could get this done on my own I would have already.
I know I need help so I asked a buddy if she’d be willing to receive an image and brief description of the 30 minutes I work on “Siana’s Dream” each day. I told her I didn’t need a response to my posts, just an OK that I could send them.
This helps me focus away from the ‘goal’ and focus on showing up and putting in the work.
So here’s what that looked like:
For me it’s easiest and most satisfying to send a photo or screenshot of what I’ve done, so here’s what that accountability partnership looked like for the past couple weeks, including the images and texts I sent. Anything in italics and brackets is just a little more explanation I added for this blog post.
I also included her responses. “D” is me, and “R” is my buddy:
D: 30 min completed — outlined process & located all files.
R: Got it!
D: Blue means I got these edits into the score. [I call it “Bluing them out” and I do it so I can see if I actually did transfer all the edits I noted, and so I could ask someone to look at my work and see if I’d blued-out every one of the notes I took]
R: [Thumbs up]
D: 30 min done — Now consolidating 3 of the versions so I have ONE master [the letters in boxes are the rehearsal letters – so I can match this version up with the orchestra score; the small numbers in boxes are the measure numbers of a different version of the piece that I was consolidating with this one]
D: I’ve now consolidated all 3 parts on paper and ready to start consolidating on digital version
D: Starting to get edits into the score including rehearsal letters
D: Printed out the new master — all measure numbers match the score. Now I can start composing and revising
D: Can’t find my phone, which is a shame because I started adding in notes tonight and it’s fun to see that.
D: Now starting to fill in the empty spaces (first I’m writing them by hand, then transferring them to the score – you can see that in this photo)
BONUS!! I spent 2 hours editing my musical Golden Cage so I can start practicing it, so I can present readings of the piece myself, since that seems so much more effective
R: Awesome! Very inspiring!
D: I didn’t work on Siana but created promo video (much scarier) for upcoming show! Very proud I did this!!!
D: Starting to put the harp part together with the orchestra – just to check the harmonies for now and make sure they match.
D: 30 minutes (actually more). The fastest way to proceed now is to listen to the orchestra and create the harp melody by singing it – then transcribe the melodic outline onto the paper and only then compose it into harp music. This way I take advantage of technology AND natural inclination.
The picture is of me listening to the orchestra part. I videotape what I sing and then put it on the paper. [I videotape it rather than just recording it so I can give myself visual cues about what’s where in the music – and that makes it easier for me to scan and orient myself]
D: Sigh … nearly an hour for a paltry 8 measures I’m not sure I even like. Trying to capture the freedom of spontaneous whimsy into notes others could play.
R: I love it that you’re in the work! Outcomes matter less than creative engagement.
D: Another 30 minutes that turned into an hour on this same section. The heartache of turning perfect potential into imperfect reality.
When I improvise, I can hope every time that I might CAPTURE the perfect line and achieve lift-off. But COMPOSING it feels like trying create a mechanical bird that could fly whimsically instead of with predictable clunkiness.
R: I can relate to the heartache. Good for you for continuing to persevere.
And so on …
The longer I do this, the more I trust the methodicalness of the system to support the creative work. It doesn’t proceed perfectly. But it does proceed. And as I begin to trust the time planning and trust that my accountability buddy is OK with getting these posts, I feel less anxious about the outcome, knowing it will get done.
Having accountability from people who are committed similarly to their creative growth is what you get from creative partnership. That’s why I teach this kind of accountability in my mentored mastermind program “Harness Your Muse.”
Because the program is mentored, members get direction and feedback from me, but they also have the support of their colleagues in the program. And because I rely on these methods as a creative myself, I’m always tweaking them – and learning both from how I use them and from how the artists I mentor use them. That lets me share even more with the artists I mentor.
Do you have a creative project that’s longing to reach the state of “done”? Learn more about “Harness Your Muse” HERE and apply now.