Quick Tip: Keep Your Boxes

As most of you know, I moved this past weekend. So I’ve been living in the land of boxes for a while.

I was slowly piecing my studio together today. Things were rocking along, I had mostly everything hooked up. I was playing music at a ridiculously loud volume.

Life was good.

Then I tried to connect my Macbook to my new iMac to transfer over some files via firewire.

Ruh-roh…

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2010 Goal Update: How Are You Doing?

Back on New Year’s Day I wrote a post about setting goals, and I also released my latest free eBook, Roadmap to Finishing Your Album. If you haven’t grabbed your copy yet, just sign up to my newsletter, and it’s yours.

In that post I talked a lot about setting deadlines for yourself, and how these deadlines will push you to get specific things accomplished.

Well, I’d like to share with you my progress thus far. See above picture. Yeah, I missed a couple deadlines. So why am I showing you this? Because if I hadn’t set those deadlines, I’d be much further behind than I am.

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Why Home Studio Owners Should Read Business Books

If you’ve been recording for some amount of time, then you’ve probably at least entertained the idea of getting paid to record someone. You may not think you’re good enough. You may not even think that it’s right to charge for your services.

But chances are you’ve at least considered the option of making money from your home studio. If so, then I have a recommendation for you. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again here.

You need to treat your home studio like a business.

Hang on, before you navigate away from the page, thinking to yourself that there’s no way you’d ever actually accept money for your work/music, hear me out.

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2010 Goals for Your Home Studio [plus a FREE eBook!]

Happy New Year!

As we move forward into 2010, everybody’s making new years resolutions. Get ready for the gym to be packed for the next 30 days.

Don’t worry, they’ll give up soon, and things will go back to normal.

What about you and your home studio? What are your plans for 2010?

More importantly, how do you plan to actually achieve those plans?

It’s so easy to have big dreams for your home studio, only to turn around a year later, and you’re still “getting ready” to do those big things you’ve been planning.

I hate new years resolutions.

Why? Because they’re always such huge, ambitious goals. We say things like “I’m going to lose twenty pounds this year.” That’s admirable and all, but why do we almost never get close to making it happen? Because we fail to specify the steps to achieving that goal.

Rather than “losing twenty pounds,” we’d be better off setting a goal of working out once a week. For most of us, that would still be a change, but it’s not some huge, insurmountable goal.

Okay, this isn’t a weight-loss website. If you’re like me, you’re telling yourself, “I’m going to finish my album this year.” That’s great!

But if that’s all you say, then it’s not going to happen. Trust me, I’ve said it on multiple New Years days. 🙂

I’m not saying you shouldn’t aim to finish your album this year, but I’d suggest you put some effort into this goal. Give it legs. Create a game plan for how you’re going to get there.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Set a date. I don’t care if it’s December 31, 2010. Put it on your calendar. This act alone can be enough to trick yourself into making things happen. Remember Pam and Roy from The Office? They were engaged for something like three years. They never set a date…and they never got married…and she ended up kissing Jim. Set a completion/release date for your project, or your project may end up kissing someone else and calling off the whole thing.
  • Set mini-goals. Now that you have a completion date, you need to set up markers along the way. These mini-goals will look like this:
    • Finish Recording Guitars – Feb 1
    • Finish Recording Bass – Feb 15
    • All the way to…
    • Finish Mixing – November 1
  • Do something EVERY WEEK – Your schedule is most likely insane. However, if you want to knock this thing out, commit to doing at least something for the project every week. Just like the weight-loss analogy, don’t commit to 6 hours a week. Commit to just an hour a week. As you make small progress week by week, you’ll find yourself getting more and more excited rather than more and more burned out.

These are geared towards those of us trying to finish an album, but they’re applicable to you regardless of what your 2010 goals are. Like I heard someone say once, a goal isn’t a goal until it has a date.

You should know that I’m nowhere near being a master at this. I’ve been working on an album for a couple years. I haven’t given it the priority it needs. I want to change that in 2010, and I want you to join me.

[Photo by Bob Jagendorf]

Getting Things Done in Your Home Studio

To-Do ListRaise your hand if you are a procrastinator. Go ahead…raise it on up.

Do you struggle to finish a recording? Have you been planning an album for years, only to keep continually pushing back the date? What obstacles are you facing? What’s getting in the way of getting things done?

Take me, for example. I have an album in the works. I had hoped to finish it this fall, but a lot of things got in the way. Many of these obstacles were legitimate — moving, a new job, several engineering jobs, launching the HSC Production Club — but I probably could have still finished it by now if I had made it a priority.

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Do You Set Deadlines?

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.

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One-Hour Challenge

One Hour - iPhone TimerIf you follow me on Twitter, then you may have noticed the other night that I gave myself a challenge. I had a song I hadn’t recorded yet, so I thought it would be fun to see how much I could get done in one hour.

Whenever I think about recording in my home studio, I tend to tell myself that I need to set aside at least two hours if I really want to accomplish anything of worth. As you can imagine, this is stupid.

I had a suspicion that this was stupid, hence the challenge. If I only have one hour to record, can I get anything done? Or would it be better that I just watch TV or surf the internet? After all, an hour isn’t very long.

So, in an attempt to prove myself wrong, I set the timer on my iPhone for one hour, hit start, and opened up Pro Tools.

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Wisdom Teeth and Productivity in Your Home Studio

Teeth

Photo by theogo

Yesterday my wife had her wisdom teeth taken out. Poor thing. I got to play the part of “nurse” for the day. (Which is funny, since my wife is actually a nurse.)

She slept most of the day, so in between going on milk shake runs and preparing warm salt water for her to gargle, I spent some time in my studio.

I had a good time.

I’ve got several projects going on right now. For one of these projects I’m playing bass on a local artist’s upcoming record. The engineer gave me a hard drive of Pro Tools sessions, and I’m working my way through them.

My Fender Mexican Jazz Bass and I have been spending a lot of time together. I’m using a borrowed Chandler LTD-1 channel strip. Mmm…so nice. I love the tone I’m getting.

So why do I bring this up? Well, first of all, I think it’s important for you to know that I DO actually record music in my home studio.

Secondly, I noticed yesterday that I wasted quite a bit of time. I came into the day with the intention of getting a lot of work accomplished. Before I knew it, it was 5pm, and I had only finished two songs.

What’s the deal?

You may recall an article I wrote a few weeks ago dealing with productivity in the home studio. I’ll be the first to admit that I struggle to stay productive when it comes to my studio. I came up with that article (and the productivity tips that followed) because I constantly struggle to stay focused myself.

I need to revisit this concept regularly. I’m not going to rewrite that article here today. You can read it for yourself. What I want to do is explore the different areas of my home studio and expose those things that are inhibiting productivity.

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