an operating manual for not quitting
Published August 14, 2021
David Bayles and Ted Orland, in their excellent research-based book, Art & Fear, Observations on the Perils and Rewards of Artmaking, offer this brief, but effective “OPERATING MANUAL FOR NOT QUITTING:
A. Make friends with others who make art, and share your in-progress work with each other frequently
B. Learn to think of [A], rather than the Museum of Modern Art, as the destination of your work. (Look at it this way: If all goes well, MOMA will eventually come to you.)”
Hey, have I personally invited you to join the Friday Afternoon Songwriting Club? If I haven’t, then please let this missive be your personal invitation
Look, I’m not saying you’re afraid. I’m saying I’m afraid. On one level, it is so thoroughly terrifying to me to show up to the blank page with my voice recorder in hand in the hopes that I might write a half-way decent song, that I will go to any lengths to avoid it.
So, thank goodness my community led me to create the Friday Afternoon Songwriting Club.
Now, I know I have to show up every week and write a song. (Plus, because I am the founder, I get to also write a set of prompts that can be used by every single other person in the Club to write their own song.)
Is it scary? Well, kinda. But the other side of fear is ecstasy and exhilaration. I honest-to-God feel both every single week that I’m at FASC.
But Gary, I’m so tired of Zoom calls, and I’m afraid of being judged by other people and my to-do-list is longer than both my arms.
I hear you. I’m tired of ordinary Zoom calls, too, which is why we designed FASC to be a different sort of call. And I’m afraid of being judged by others, too, which is why we mute everyone on the call and make an opportunity to share works in progress through the forums and cozy song circles and even the Songwriters’ Open Mic night, but we never require you to share your song, ever. And just think how easy and fun your to-do list will be to work on after you’ve written the very thing that your soul needed to say today.
Look, I find that it’s sometimes difficult to explain why the magic of simple community works so well for artists of all levels to make new work during our guided calls.
So, please, accept my invitation and join us this week at FASC.
We’re waiting for you.
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