After several months of work, I have finally finished a song I wrote called “I Am Free.”  It’s by far the best pop or rock song I’ve ever written, and it’s definitely the best mix I’ve ever made, too.  (I’m still waiting for a few things before I can upload it, but in my next post, I’ll probably have it uploaded and I can talk about it more.)  Emotionally, “I Am Free” took a lot out of me to write.  I’ve put so much into this one song, but now I’m done.  So I ask myself: “Now what?”

Whenever I finish a project, I’m always really happy about it at first.  But then, when I realize I don’t know what to do with myself now that I’m done, I’m just really confused.  And no, I can’t just “take a break” until I know what to do next.  I’m just one of those people that always has to be working on something.  One of my mottos is “Just keep moving, and eventually it will get you somewhere.”

After I’ve finished, I start going through the other projects that I have in progress, hoping maybe one of them will speak to me.  But then there’s another problem.  I start to create something, but then I ask myself: “How can I ever make anything as good as what I just did?”  It sounds silly, but that’s what I think almost every time I finish something.  I wondered the same thing way back in the day when I finished my first real songs, “Live On” and “Have It All,” and those weren’t even that great.  Sometimes I start to work on something, but then I just feel all hopeless because, at first, it doesn’t sound as good as what I’ve done before.

If nothing seems to be coming to me, that’s when I go do the “administrative” tasks that I have to do–things like filling out copyright registrations, checking the sales of my songs, coding my website, making album art, and planning how to promote what I’ve already written.  It’s not like I can just upload my song to distribute it and then never have to think about it again.  In many ways, finishing a song is only just the beginning.  As much as I dislike doing some of these tasks, they are necessary, and it’s an easy way for me to do something productive without the pressure of trying to create something brilliant.  I think that there are times when you have to take the pressure off yourself to write something, because sometimes the pressure you put on yourself just crushes you, and it quashes any ideas you might have.  But there are other times when you do need to just sit down and work.  It depends.  Eventually, I get sick of the “administrative” tasks, and I go back to writing in the studio or at the piano.  If I work long enough, then I come up with something, and to my suprise, it’s even kind of good sometimes.

When one finishes a project, one has to let it go and just see what happens.  Maybe it will lead to something else and inspire a new project.  Maybe releasing it will lead to new opportunities.  There’s no way to know for sure until you release it.  I don’t know what will happen now that I’m done, and I don’t know if what I write next will be as good, but if I keep working, I will get something.

Now what?  Just keep going.

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About Shelby Rawlings Blalock

I'm a 21-year-old composer, pianist, music producer, audio engineer, and GRAMMY Camp 2012 alum. My neoclassical, self-produced piano album "Airborne" is available now on iTunes.

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