As I mentioned last week, my album is finished, and I’m getting ready to release it in the next couple of weeks. If you’d like a free sample, head over to JoeGilderMusic.com. I’m giving away 3 songs from the album. These were all recorded and mixed in my home studio.

I’m planning some pretty cool things for the album release, so make sure you’re signed up to my newsletter, or subscribed to the HSC RSS feed. More to come soon.

But first, let me share with you some tips for finishing an album. There are a bajillion steps involved in producing any recording project, and today I want to share with you 7 tips that really helped me as I went from “I’m working on my album” to “I’m finished with my album.” I’ll share these over the course of several articles. Enjoy!

1. Finish writing the songs before you start recording them.

As tempting as it may be to start recording a song as soon as you’ve written it, resist the urge. As you probably know, songs aren’t written, they’re rewritten. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written a song, started recording it for a few days, then realized that the song needed some major work. Usually that meant scratching everything I’d recorded.

Make sure the lyrics and arrangement are finished before you start recording. You’ll be glad you did.

2. “Chunkify”

I just made up that word, I think.

Whenever there are chores to do around the house, my wife has this habit of saying, “We’ve got a lot to do today.” I always respond with, “What exactly do we have to do?” After she lists out the two or three tasks, it then becomes clear to both of us that it’s not really that much.

It’s the same way with recording. If you speak in terms of “I’m finishing this song” rather than “I’m comping the lead vocals,” you’ll always feel like you have this insurmountable mountain of work to do.

The solution is to divide your projects up into chunks, small individual tasks that, when added up, equal a completed project. For example, rather than saying,

I need to edit all 10 songs.

I would say

I need to edit the acoustic guitars on “No Time” and “Home.”
I need to edit the piano no “Come Quickly.”
I need to edit the bass on “I Won’t Fly Away.”
etc. etc.

Suddenly, I have a list of 100 tasks that I need to complete to finish the album. Sure, 100 tasks is a lot, but it’s measurable. As you chip away at one, you feel a little bit of satisfaction and motivation as you scratch if off your to-do list forever.

[By the way, for more on editing, check out Understanding Editing.]

3. Set deadlines, even if you miss them.

This is nothing new, but it’s worth re-emphasizing. Having a deadline looming in the back of your mind will make you focus more on the task at hand. I missed all sorts of deadlines with my album, but having those deadlines helped me keep moving forward, otherwise, it would’ve turned into one of those 7-year projects that’s always “in the works.”

I would suggest setting deadlines for each of your “chunks.” This will help you with both gaining focus and determining how long it will actually take to finish your album.

Okay, that’s enough for today. I’ll post a few more tips in the next article, but before I do, I need 15 comments on this post. Let me know what you think. What are YOU going to implement today?