What writing regularly has taught me

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Dear Indie Girl,

Don’t be afraid to write a bad song. 

I used to be terrified of writing bad songs. And I still have a twinge of fear when I’m staring at a blank page, but ever since I started writing more regularly (everyday if possible, if not at least one day a week), I’ve learned to do it anyway.  

I learned this from my husband, James Pray, who is a fiction writer. He is our main bread-winner working 40+ hours a week. Everyday after work he comes home, we eat dinner together, and he goes right back to work in his office working on his book. Everyday. He would write eight hours a day if we didn’t need… money. I’m so proud of him, and so inspired (and envious) of his work ethic!

So this got me thinking… so what if I write a bad song! It’s not the end of the world, right?  Well it could be the end of your career if you stop there, so don’t stop there.  Keep writing.  

George Gershwin used to write 3 songs a day so he could get two bad songs out of the way and work on something really great.

What did George known that we have yet to figure out? Writing crap is part of being a writer. Not every idea is gold. Get over it.

Someone (I can’t remember who at the moment) once said, Don’t be afraid to write crap, it fertilizes the rest of your writing.  (I’m paraphrasing)

Because that crap you wrote yesterday could hold a seed of an idea that starts a new song or book or blog post today.  Inspiration is a fickle friend. Today you’re besties, tomorrow you’re “what’s-her-name”. So don’t hang your career on inspiration. It’s nice when she visits, but you know she won’t stick around.

Be willing to get your hands dirty and spread your crap ideas out all over the page, you’ll be surprised what beautiful things will come of it.

Love, 

Kelsey

p.s. this is also written to my future self on the day I wake feeling like a failure, or I get a bad review, or something.  Just get to work.

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Buffalo, buffalo

Dear Indie Girl,

This week I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to do some creative co-writing.  I say it’s creative co-writing, because my co-writer doesn’t know about it.  Sneaky…

A friend of mine is on a very long tour with her band, The Rough & Tumble.  I’ve had the pleasure of tagging along.  Well… at least I feel like I’m tagging along because every couple of days I get another postcard from another place and I get to read a little blurb about their trip.  Postcards are like a vintage concept now days, I can’t remember the last time I got one from someone other than my mom.  I love it!

Anyway, I’m writing a lot about traveling lately and the concept of home, so I decided to take her postcards and turn them into a song.  I’ve done this before actually, with a letter from the same person, and it turned out so well!  So I thought I’d try it again.  The results are not in yet, since their trip is not over yet, and I’m still getting postcards every other day or so, but I’ll be sure to share it with you when it’s all done!  I’ll give you a hint:

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Until next week!

Kelsey

It’s always okay to start over

 

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Dear Indie Girl, 

After exposing my great plans for taking over the world by becoming a writing machine, life did what it does best, and  TOTALLY THREW OFF MY GROOVE!  I went from 2 or 3 weeks of a good writing rhythm where I wrote 5 or 6 song drafts.  Then I, arrogantly shared my success story only to turn around and have a week like this one.  Where I write hardly anything.  

Schedule changes are killers!  And you know what else is a killer?  Not getting enough sleep because you want to stay up and watch one more episode of Kora!  Don’t do that.

I’m a full time musician so the schedule changes really shouldn’t phase me at this point… sadly, they do.  If my schedule gets thrown off, I feel helpless to write a single thing worth hearing.  Mostly because my brain is so focused on what’s going to happen next.  The beauty of sticking to a writing schedule is you don’t need to think about what’s going to happen next.  The latter excuse is just foolishness.  

What I have learned though, is that when these things happen, I’m tempted to guilt trip myself into a routine again.  Don’t do this either.  Self-deprecation is NEVER productive.  If anything it only hinders my writing further.  

When you have a week like this, give yourself some grace, go to bed on time and get back up tomorrow and start over.  It’s always okay to start over.