As a composer, one of the questions that I’m often asked is how I remain creative. Library composers are required to continually produce new music, often in multiple different genres, regardless of whether we fee like it or not, and ideally, we need to do this without losing our passion for music! After all, we compose because we love to create music – not because it’s some kind of dreary job, right?
Whilst I’m definitely no gym rat, I am aware that when we start working out, it’s hard, and our muscles seem to hurt all the time. As we persevere though, we start to build these same muscles and over time, working out gets easier.
It’s the same with composing. When we first start out, many an hour will be spent sitting at the keyboard (or whatever your primary instrument is) with nothing to show for it. (If you’re currently at this stage, check out my blog post on overcoming writer’s block). If we form a habit of composing on a regular basis (ideally, daily), we start to form ‘composing muscles’, just like when we go to the gym. As these muscles build, it starts to get easier and easier to sit down and write something decent.
Last year (2021) was my first year of taking composing really seriously, and the first few months were challenging in terms of forming this habit. Eventually though, working at least an hour a day on my music business became effortless, and enabled me to get signed with 30 libraries and to complete 77 tracks. I found that on those days where I really wasn’t in the mood to compose, I could still work on other business matters such as:
- Creating metadata
- Emailing prospective libraries
- Uploading tracks to existing libraries
- Studying music (composition, production techniques, etc)
However, I made sure not to let 2 days go by where I didn’t sit down and work on a composition. In the early days, it would take me several sessions to complete a track, so completing more than 1 a week was often difficult. Building the habit though, has brought me to the point where I can often create a complete track in a single session (usually more than an hour though) so finishing 4 tracks in a week isn’t unusual for me now.
So how can you go about building these muscles yourself?
It all starts with a decision that you WANT to build this habit. If this is simply something that you feel you “should” do, or would be “nice” to do, then just like joining a gym, it’s unlikely that you’ll see any success.
Once you’ve made the decision, you need to figure out how much time you can commit to your music business. I’d encourage you to aim for at least 4 days a week (my goal is 5 days, although I often end up working 7 days a week because I love what I do!) in order for it to become a habit. You also need to figure out how long you can commit to during each session. If this feels challenging, maybe just start with 30 minutes, 4 times a week. It will get easier, and as it does, you can work longer and/or more often, time permitting.
The resulting habit will transform your business, and will result in you being far more productive than you even imagined! When I started, the thought of producing even 1 complete track per week felt like some kind of superhuman feat, even without working on the ‘business’ side of things! The habit though, has brought me to where I am today – still grafting, but having way more fun than I thought possible, yet producing at a level I never imagined.
I encourage you to consider doing this in your own business – especially if you’re not yet able to do this full-time. Make a public commitment in the comments below, and see how your business grows over the coming months.