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 –