I try to make something new, something that wasn't there when I woke up, by the end of every day. It doesn't have to be long or perfect or good. It just has to be something.
Those words really resonated with me. For my own purposes, I would re-phrase that statement to read something like: "Try to create something new, something that didn't exist before, every week. It doesn't have to be exceptional, or original, or vastly different than what came before. It just has to be something."
I also like on page 158, when Jeff describes going through Woody Guthrie's writings for the Mermaid Avenue project and found a note by Woody that read "Write a song every day." Jeff says That's the best advice I've ever gotten as a songwriter, and it wasn't directed at me. It was written by a man who died two months after I was born, as a reminder to himself.
For the last year and a half I've been trying to write about one tune a week (by "tune" I mean an instrumental melody). I'm up to about 80 now so that's right on pace. So far I've really enjoyed this process. There is a high that comes from creating something new that wasn't there before but now is. However, I've also given myself permission to let go of this goal if it ever becomes too demanding or no longer fun.
I ordered Chinese take out on Christmas night and drove by myself to pick it up. On the way back from the restaurant a melody came to me along a dark stretch of road which I then hummed into my phone and didn't think about again for the rest of the night. Then yesterday, December 26th, I had a bug or some kind of mild illness all day. Even though I wasn't feeling one-hundred percent I decided to transcribe the melody I had sung into my phone the night before.
In my sickened state it didn't make me feel better to realize that my sung melody was not very original and pretty scalar, something I've been wanting to avoid. So I cast it aside and then tried to gain inspiration from an obscure LP of Guatemalan marimba music that I had found in a thrift store on December 22nd. That didn't work out so well either and I think might have inhaled some dust mites which made me feel even worse.
This morning I slept in late, to like 10am, which has pretty much shaken off whatever malady had me down. The first thing I did after getting up was to revisit that melody I had hummed on 12/25 and transcribed on 12/26. As is usually the case, something I wrote a day or two earlier that didn't seem to be any good at the time becomes a little more likable after sleeping on it. This made me think of that Jeff Tweedy quote, "It doesn't have to be long or perfect or good. It just has to be something."
Here's what I wrote today. If it survives, which I think it might, it'll be tune number 81 and will carry me through to 2019.