As the end of the year approaches, you can soon realize that you haven’t finished as many tracks as you wanted during the year, and that you could have done more. Sometimes your schedule gets in the way, but often it’s the mindset we have that holds us back from finishing more tracks.
4 THOUGHTS FROM ME
1. Acquire a mindset of finishing tracks. Finishing tracks is a mindset and a skill on its own, and we often overlook this because we tend to blame it on our other production skills. You have to develop a mindset of finishing the tracks you start since you will not move forward in your career if you don’t finish music. First, finishing tracks avoid going into the overwork/perfectionism loop, which can severely halt your motivation, as mentioned here. Not only this, but only when you finish music is that you’ll be able to judge and compare one track to another without having the excuse that ‘the track doesn’t sound as good because it’s not finished’. When you finish your track and compare it to others in the market, your issues with mixing, mastering, arrangement, etc can finally be exposed, which is a good thing since it will create a guide to you with what do you need to improve. However, most importantly, you’ll have the pride to say that ‘at least, you finished it’, and this will build you momentum to keep on finishing more tracks.
2. Develop a vision for the project after you’ve done the first 8-bar loop of the song. We often skip songs because we don’t know where to go with them, and the lack of a vision for the project makes it less appealing or even boring to us. First, it’s crucial to develop a mindset of having a complete view of your song after you’ve done the first 8-bar loop. This will help you avoid getting stuck on the 8-bar loop since you’ll always know where you want to go with the song and, therefore, will help you finish songs faster. To develop a vision for a song, try to develop an arrangement for your song after you finish the first 8-bar loop and also how will the song flow. First, set how long the drop 1, break, and drop 2 will be before you even begin working on them. Then, try to understand how the song will flow within the arrangement. Will it have a lead? Will it have a vocal? How is your story developing? If you get stuck here, listen to reference tracks and borrow pieces of their arrangement to your song, and use that to your advantage, or consider asking a friend for a collab, as he/she can help you unstuck the song with his vision for it.
3. Create a deadline for your projects to avoid overworking and procrastination. Having a deadline is often the best way to finish your songs since, without a deadline, you don’t have any pressure to finish them, and that can lead you to procrastination. For example, I have two songs that I’ve been sitting on it for months just because I don’t need to finish them right now, so I always forget to finish them. However, the end of the year is not ‘putting pressure on me’ to finish them, and in one week I managed to finish them without any problems. Working with a deadline is really helpful because it helps you prioritize what is important and move forward in an organized way. More importantly, it avoids procrastination since you don’t have time to waste on things that don’t matter and also on overthinking the little details. Therefore, set yourself a deadline for every project you start to finish after one month, or two depending on your schedule, since if you don’t have the pressure or ‘need’ to finish it, you’ll likely just procrastinate. In addition, keep yourself accountable with a friend as we tend to respect deadlines more when our reputation is on the line, and not finishing it could ‘make you look bad’ to your friend.
4. You need to know when to stop working on a song and call it finished. Often, we don’t finish our songs because we don’t know when to stop, and then we keep tweaking our mix until the point that you no longer like the song, and then we start the new one without having finished the other one we were working on. Sounds familiar? This happens to all of us because we don’t know, or forget, when to stop. To avoid this, you can (1) ask for feedback from your friends and get their opinion on how far along they think the song is since often their opinion will make us more secure that we’re done. In addition, you need to have a written to-do of things you need to do to fix your song to avoid always finding new things to do since this narrows your focus to only fix these issues and avoid looking for other areas to fix. Lastly, develop a workflow for your mix and master since it can help you tremendously as a streamlined process provides repetition, which will make it faster over time, and focus, which will make you avoid overworking what was already solved. For example, in my step-by-step mix and master video, you can see how a streamlined process gets me to where I need to go without overthinking what I’ve already done.
1 QUESTION FOR YOU
What else can help you finish more tracks?
1. Optimize your workflow for when you’re not creative: If you’re in a creative rut, organize your sample library or go learn sound design. This will help when you are feeling creative to get your ideas down faster.
2. Don’t overload yourself with too many projects: If you’re working on too many projects at once, you can often feel overwhelmed and end up burning out or losing motivation to finish your tracks. Therefore, make sure to work on a sustainable amount of tracks for your schedule.
3. Ask for feedback: As mentioned, feedback can not only help you know when you need to stop, but can also get you tips on how you can develop yourself even further or even get yourself back on track.