I’ve been blogging and YouTubing since 2009. That’s a pretty long time in internet years. When I first started out, I read every article I could get my hands on about how to write blog posts and headlines and emails, etc. Everyone had a formula. “This 3-Step Formula Will Double Your Subscribers.” Stuff like that.

The things is, those formulas work…sort of.

We’ve all fallen prey to the super catchy headline that promises something amazing or interesting or surprising if we just click the link. After all, that’s the purpose of the headline, to get your attention. (Hello, click-bait.)

So I tried the formulas, and they kinda worked. But the problem with formulas is that once you start using them, you feel like you have to use them everywhere.

“If formulas work for things like headlines, then I should create formulas for how I record and mix things,” I thought to myself. So I would start coming up with “My 7-Step Formula for…” and “3 Secrets to a Better…”

The thing is, you can’t boil down something so beautiful and creative into a formula. Music doesn’t want to be formalized. Once I start following a formula, I become more interested in following the formula than in making great music.

Now, I understand that there are principles and “rules” to music, and it’s a good thing to follow them, or at least know about them. But when you start using formulas, you lose something.

Just like when I used all those formulas in my website content, it sorta worked, but it sorta didn’t. Instead of just sharing what I wanted to share, I had to “dress it up” into a 3-step formula.

Somewhere along the way, I stopped using formulas. I stopped trying to “trick” people and focused on simply trying to help them. I tried to give them what I think they would want, rather than give them what was best for me.

I think that makes me a bad blogger. And it probably hurts my numbers, but it feels more true. It feels right.

If you’re looking for formulas, I’m not your guy.

If you’re looking for a fellow musician on the journey to make better and better music, I’m your man.

Beware formulas, my friend. Principles and habits and routines are good, but MUSIC is the point. Don’t forget it.

Joe Gilder
Home Studio Corner

P.S. Speaking of making great music without formulas, it’s February 1st, which means I’ve got 28 days to record and release an EP. I’m documenting the whole thing inside my VIP members area, and I’m challenging my VIPers to give themselves some sort of challenge this month as well. Care to join us?