I have said before that I think we are always going through phases and, being in the midst of a big project (my album), I started thinking about how very different it is to work on a big project versus a small one.
In all reality a big project is a compilation of smaller ones - a book is made up of chapters, a computer program is made up of different parts and an album is made up of songs.
But the fact that these smaller parts intimately relate and rely on one another to achieve coherence and form, and hopefully beauty in a sense, makes a bigger project more challenging.
I tackle this challenge in a few ways, always working on the strongest ideas first and never expecting things to move too quickly, as I think this puts inspiration into danger.
At the beginning, the "Big Project" idea is young and immature. To get my head around this blob of inspiration I write down anything I already know - a list of songs I have written for the project, a timeline of when I want the demos for these done, a rough number of how many more songs I want to write, a few sentences about the mood that is forming, etc.
I draw diagrams and pictures - potential album art, marketing ideas and album titles. I make a big, rough timeline that spans many months.
Over the past 6 months I found myself repeating these steps - each list gets clearer and each diagram gets closer to the reality that is forming.
I try to let things free as much as possible so that the magical inspirational moments can present themselves, but at times I see the clock ticking and know that it is time to push. Then I make a strict deadline and work my butt off.
Smaller projects are also very fulfilling but I find the puzzle of a big project a wonderful challenge, and I must admit, working on this puzzle has really helped me keep clear-minded and positive during these past months, as the outside world roars and rumbles.
The world is different since Covid-19 and we are faced with uncomfortable things like change and the unknown every day. This can easily lead to fear. But now comes my mental health therapy: one thing isn't changing - my Big Project - and I dive into that without ignorance of the changing world, but with full acceptance of it.
The world is changing and I happen to be writing an album.
Covid is not the only threat to physical or mental well-being and is simply a good example of adversity. We need to find our way through difficulties so that we ourselves can be good contributions to the world. Now is a great moment to practice, in fact, and my tool of choice is my Big Project.
What are your thoughts and experiences with big and small projects? What has kept you positive during these past months of change? What big projects have you dreamed of creating?