Chris Boardman Music Blog: July 2014

Thursday, July 17, 2014

White Oak Sessions #5

We used to take long walks on the far side of Leo Carillo Beach. Now that I live in Nashville I wistfully recall the beauty and peace found in that simple spot.

Working on my record I came across this snapshot taken the last time I was there.

Today I wrote this piece thinking of those times.

More posts soon!


Monday, July 7, 2014

Deadlines, Deadlines, Deadlines! What's the big deal?

Why is it we cringe, if not freeze up, when a deadline approaches? All of us can lapse into self-doubt or lack of confidence...especially when we are challenged. Having an understanding of the use and importance of deadlines will help move you past your fear and indecision.

Deadlines have a purpose. 

A deadline creates an expectation between the consumer of your product/service and you, the creator of that product/service. This is essential for the creative person. Without a deadline (with consequences) there is a good chance you won't complete your project...let alone complete it on time. 

Meeting deadlines requires organization and focus

Being organized will bring clarity to your process. The first step is to articulate (write down) your goals. It doesn't matter if you work alone or in a large group, taking the time to be specific about your responsibilities and intentions will pay great dividends by creating better communications between team members and yourself..

After determining the scope of a project what has worked well for me time and time again is to segment the process (and the resulting fear) into smaller parts

Once I have a good idea of what my role is, how I fit into the whole and what is expected of me I can segment my process into smaller, manageable parts. I then estimate how long it will take to accomplish each one. This creates a schedule that will ensure I complete my project on time (provided I am disciplined enough to keep to my schedule). 

Time to be creative.

Once you have a timeline in place with clear objectives the fun begins. You can always find a way to be creative "inside" your project and thus satisfy your creative urges.  If you have faith in your schedule and organization you can let go and immerse yourself, giving each part your full attention because you have the comfort and confidence that you will finish on time. 

The benefits of organization are:

1- less anxiety means better focus and productivity
2- being able to manage client relationships (staying on schedule and being able to account for your time generates confidence)
3- effectively dealing with distraction (knowing where you are in the process at any moment will help bring you back to the same state of mind)

Skin in the game

Reputation is EVERYTHING. Reputation is more valuable than money because it can't be bought. Like it or not, we are judged by the perception of our reputation...and not the actual product we deliver. Not delivering on time will have severe negative consequences to the perceived quality of your work. Once that genie is out of the is impossible to contain.

Understanding your role, your responsibilities and your process are the tools you need to be able to work under deadline pressure and maintain the integrity of your work. Mastering these simple tools will enable you to call up your creative muses on demand and be in charge of the process instead of letting the process be in charge of you. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Getting past the dreamer stage

In some shape or form our fears will appear when we begin a project. It's inevitable and everyone goes through it. Even Frank Sinatra was terrified before every show.  If you wish to achieve ANY goal you have to know if you are you a dreamer or a doer?

Dreamers fantasize. Don't get me wrong, having dreams is a good thing. Dreams can lead to action or can paralyze you...keeping you in a perpetual state of "what if". On the other hand doers seem to magically be able to make their dreams a reality.

To do is a choice. Why is that easier for some than others?

Doers are capable of, and comfortable with, looking at themselves with a critical eye regardless of the joy or pain it may cause. Doers learn that being honest about themselves and their abilities enable replicable results.  Do I feed my ego? Or, do I grow?  Do I wait for a happy accident to occur (the dreamer's mentality) or do I make a conscious choice to improve?  It is a choice to make. Over the years these seemingly simply (but daunting) ideas have served me well...especially when I try something new.

1- What are you afraid of?

Fear has been used to motivate and control people for thousands of years.  Fear sabotages our relationships, pushes nations into war and most importantly for the artist, can lead to self-doubt.

Self-doubt may well be the most common obstacle you face and prevent you from moving forward.  Our fears become palpable whenever we venture outside of our comfort zone. But, truthfully, unless you are dealing with hand grenades and bullets, what is the worst that could happen?

2- Examine-

Acknowledging your discomfort, that you are actually uncomfortable, will enable you to move past the invisible walls that are preventing you from achieving your goals.

3- Articulate-

Take time to understand exactly what it is you are afraid of. Is it rejection? Is it money? Once you have identified and can articulate what specifically makes you uncomfortable write it down on a piece of paper and shove it in a drawer. In the future whenever you start to feel afraid you can a) remind yourself that you have dealt with the fear and b) your fear has a home- in your desk drawer. Leave it where it belongs.

4- Understand the word no.

The fact is the older you live the more you realize that some things work out and others do not.  It has taken me years to come to this conclusion but I now believe that "no" is a good thing and only a starting point towards achieving my goals.

Now when someone says no I  assume I am talking to a person who either isn't interested in what I am asking or can't help me. In neither case does the word no a judgment about the worth of what I am proposing nor is it a reflection of the value of the person I am talking to. It only means that there isn't an opportunity with this person for what I am offering. In fact- hearing the word no is a good thing. You won't waste your time...or theirs.

Get used to hearing the word no. You'll hear it a lot.

If you are an artist it is impossible to avoid butting up against your comfort zone. It is unavoidable.  The path past your fears (and become a doer) is to become familiar with your process. Acknowledge and use it. This is your muse. It is there to help you...not prevent you.