Photo by jurvetson

Photo by jurvetson

Deadlines. They’re only good for jobs and tax returns, right? You don’t need the stress of meeting deadlines in your home studio. It’s your creative getaway, the place where you go to slowly piece together musical masterpieces. Wouldn’t a deadline stifle your artistic efforts? Your music should tell you when it’s finished, not the other way around, right?

Raise your hand if this is the way you think…go ahead, raise it. You can’t see me right now, but I’m raising my hand. Guilty as charged.

I was heading out to play soccer with my wife last night, and I told her I’d like to have my album finished by September 1st. She laughed. I jumped straight into “sensitive-artist-defending-his-art” mode. “What are you laughing at?”

She proceeded to tell me that she’s been listening to me talk about this fabled album for years…years.

It’s not that she doesn’t have faith in me or doesn’t like my music. She just knows that I have been “making” this album for almost as long as she’s known me. She knows that it’s not been a real priority for me. It’s been an ever-evolving process. I keep telling myself I need to set aside hours and hours of time, days upon days to focus solely on the album. Anything less would be selling myself short.

After all, my music is so amazingly incredible that it should take decades to perfect it. By the time I retire, it will be the best piece of recorded music the world has ever known. (Note that my tongue is firmly planted in my cheek.)

Who am I kidding?

In the amount of time it has taken me to write and record this album, I could’ve made six.

What’s in a Deadline?

Hopefully I’ve made my point.  And I’d be willing to bet this strikes a chord with you, too.

I’m not saying you need to turn your home studio into an insanely productive music factory, pumping out an endless supply of garbage. That’s not the point at all.

However, think about a business you like dealing with. Think about your favorite record. Think about your education. All of these would have failed if it wasn’t for deadlines.

I read recently that a goal without a time definition is not a goal. The fact is, we don’t set a deadline for our album, because we’re afraid we’ll miss it. We’re afraid we’ll fail.

News flash…it’s been six years, and you haven’t released an album. Fail.

So obviously the no-deadline approach doesn’t work. What to do? Pick a date. Just pick…a…date. Try your best to make that deadline. Take it seriously, but not too seriously. If you miss the deadline, big deal?!?! Evaluate the situation, set a new date, and get back to work.

Yes, I know. I’m an utter hypocrite. “Take your own advice, Joe,” you say. Alright, fine. September 1st. I just entered it into Google Calendar. Whew. Baby steps…baby steps. (Any What About Bob? fans out there?)

Now just in case I haven’t laid myself out there enough by announcing my plans to the world, I created a new website over the weekend. With so many people asking me for a CD or mp3 download, I’m tired of saying “I’m workin’ on it.” The new website is my way of holding myself accountable, and lighting a fire under my butt to get things done.

What’s your deadline?

Alright, it’s your turn. You’ve got a project you’re working on, or perhaps a project you haven’t started yet. Set a deadline for yourself. If you’re brave enough :-), leave a comment and let the rest of us know what your plans are.

Remember, it’s all about making music. Don’t let a deadline ruin all the fun, but don’t let a lack of one ruin your chances of ever producing some music to share with the world.

By the way, you’re welcome to check out my music website –

    24 Responses to “Do You Set Deadlines?”

    1. Kyle Shevlin

      I am doing this with an album I’m about done with. My deadline is March 1st and I’m almost done mixing, will be a whirlwind the next 10 days with the final touches. If you’re like me, I find being a perfectionist doesn’t help either, and a lot of producers are perfectionists. I wrote about how for better or for worse, the album will be done that day and I’ll move on to the next project and work to make that one an even better one. Think of it this way, no one will remember you for the work you almost get done, but only what you’ve finished. So finish more! If you want to check out my post, it’s at and the album will be up on on March 1st.

      Thanks for all your work Joe!


    2. Airway

      My Ablum will be released December 15th, look for my single currently on youtube
      Airway-Grind All Night, deadlines are great, need to light a fire.

    3. Saul C. aka Lil_Blank

      to tell the truth, i dread deadlines. But realistically deadlines get work done, i agree the same can be said for making music. me and my hip-hop group were hoping to finish and release our first two projects (a mixtape & EP) but guess what, more than halfway through the summer and still nothing! i’m not going to lie, we’ve been slacking and the summer has made us somewhat lazy. we all still attend high school and were hoping to go back to school with 2 new projects for our peers and masses of fans (exaggerating lol) online. we didn’t have a deadline, we just knew we wanted these 2 projects done in the summer. now, i’m going to work on music everyday until our mixtape (“Just For The Record”) is done even if i have to drag the other 2 members with me to finish it lol. The deadline is before the school year starts, main reason so I don’t find myself in the middle of class regretting how I wasted my summer. I feel this is a reasonable amount of time seeing as how we’re already a few songs into the project that we’ve done over the past few months. Hopefully you can reach your deadline and i’ll be waiting for that album, and if we reach ours as well maybe you could give our project a listen as well! Break a leg, Joe!

    4. bilco

      I started my CD back in Pro Tools in 2003 in a rig running PT LE 5.1 with Win98SE. I am now up to PT LE 8 and still no CD. I have recently started having them mixed at least. Hard to let go of the fact that they are not perfect tracks, but I want finish it one way or the other. I can always rerecord the same songs and get better results from what I have learned. I am shooting for a October 1st release…… I guess……

      Thanks for article, glad to know I am not the only indecisive procrastinator out there.


    5. About2Flip

      Hi everyone, I would like to Join ARDP too. “Album Release Date Procrastinators.” I think my problem is I critique my material too much. I would come up with something, clear my head for about month, go back listen to the track(s) and start changing things. My wife did a vocal for me on a track 2years ago, and I am still trying to tweak it; along with other stuff that I did. It’s Sad I know.

      However, now that I read this article, I am going to start being like those major labels, and start setting dates when my album should be handed in, and when the release date is. If we all have great material and wait on releasing it, the world will never hear our gift. Life is fragile, anything can prevent us from not releasing our creativity at all.

      So get that music out people!!!

    6. ryan


      I found you on twitter. Great stuff on here. I am a terrible procrastinator, my last record took 2 years, and I have just began working on my new one. I need to, and will set a date.

      By the way, as if the audio info wasn’t enough. “What about Bob?” Top 5 movies of all time!

      Thanks and keep up the good work.

    7. rick

      OK OK… I’m in. I would like to finish a piano/vocal only EP by Oct 31. That should be doable, right? 🙂

    8. Scott

      I haven’t set alot of deadlines, but I am very fond of the forced creativity from when I have. I know most probably aren’t like me, but I always end up writing my best when I’ve set myself a deadline. Its something about not having the time to second guess myself and having to trust my first instinct.

      My current deadline is to finish the song I started writing saturday by Friday. My hope is that the label I started will be releasing a new single every two weeks. I’m also hoping to record the debut ablum of the artist we just signed by October 1st.

    9. rick

      Cool blog! I found this blog through a video posted on WinkSound’s Twitter. You were showing how to use MIDI to create vocal tracks or something.

      Anyway, just wanted to say hi. Are you a Christian? The track in the video sounded like a Christian tune.

      • Joe Gilder

        Thanks Rick! I’m glad you found the blog. Thanks for introducing yourself. Yep, I am a Christian. A lot of the songs on this blog are from my upcoming album. Anyway, thanks for visiting.

        • rick

          Awesome dude! I help lead worship at my church, many of those years on keys. You would think I have a good handle on the technology, but I’m mainly a singer-songwriter that plays some piano so I can accompany myself. I just now started using Logic Studio. I’ll be looking forward to reading more in this blog.

          Great post on deadlines. I actually just came to this realization about myself earlier this year. I won’t ever finish without deadlines. Thankfully I have a couple themes now for 2 EPs I’d like to make, and have almost finished writing for them. I would like to finish the first EP by end of October, just in time to welcome our third child.

          Do you like CCM? I’m a big Steven Curtis Chapman fan.

          • Joe Gilder

            To be honest, I’m not a fan of most Christian music. I won’t get into it here, but I think it could be much better. But yes, I do still like SCC.

    10. Joel

      My original deadline was the end of the summer, but a combination of 1) Me still learning all this stuff and 2) Being dependent on other people
      means that I’m going to try to aim for the end of the calendar year.



    1.  The Wrong Way to Set Deadlines | Home Studio Corner

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