Just For Fun Version

It’s funny to me how easily things can become burdens. Even things that are hobbies or larks can turn into a duty that one dreads (I’m looking at you blog). Anything that one takes the time to work on and get better at can become resented.

That’s why I love the idea of a “Just For Fun Version.” I’ll give you an example:

I love writing songs for my band, but getting a song from the melody in my head to a fully realized composition with bridges, parts for all the instruments, harmonies and the practice it takes to get the song sounding decent can feel like a sisyphean task. I love putting together those songs and I take pride in the final product, but it can be hard to motivate myself and the band to get from soup to nuts on a new song.

On the other hand, when a friend of mine is making a movie and he needs some lyrics written for a joke song.  Its such a joy.  The pressure of collaborating and practicing is completely lifted.  Because its a joke song I don’t have to mess with the tone or feeling. But the real difference, is how low the stakes are. When someone asks me to do this on a lark I can relax and let loose. Without having to fulfill expectations from others, but more importantly without having to overcome my own personal censor.

I love to create for this blog, for my band, in brewing beer, and in any number of other arenas. The main thing that keeps me from doing more is not external criticism but my own self censor.

If I get stuck thinking of what I do as the thing I am going to be judged by I can get lost in my own insecurities. If I can convince myself that what I am doing is first and foremost to please myself, I end up making things I would be happy to be judged for.

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5 Responses to “Just For Fun Version”
  1. CharlesHo says:

    I think the external criticism factor might be intrinsically linked to the self censor, if you think about it. What’s prompting you to censor yourself? Is it the fear about the end product and how it’ll be received? From what I have read here, you seem to have a deep passion for the subjects in which you immerse yourself. I wouldn’t let your censor get in your way.

    Myself? I enjoy a number of things, but in the same way a dog enjoys a scent, here one second, then easily distracted by the next, then back again. ;) I wish I could manifest the same focus for my creative endeavors that you do.

    • Casey says:

      I think the main fuel for my self censor is the idea “I have to put my name on this.” If I am going to represent myself I want to do it in a way I can be proud of.

      As far as focus, I am focused in the sense that I have kept this guy going for a while, but unfocused in that I am frustrated that I can’t always keep stuff thematic.

  2. Mags says:

    This happens to me all the time–I can’t tell you how many times I’ve killed myself spending the entire day baking for Thanksgiving or a party and then been so bedraggled by the end of the day, I don’t even feel like eating. One of my favorite times to bake is when a friend comes over randomly and I throw something together last minute out of things lying around in my pantry: it’s a puzzle, it’s improv, it’s social, and we eat it with an unspoken agreement not to judge. Thanksgiving Day has to be perfect, any other day, people are just grateful you tried–even if it’s mediocre, it seems special.

    It seems that the harder I try the more likely I am to fail because I’m not going with my instinct. Don’t over think things and don’t force yourself to write when there’s nothing there–and when it does come to you at three in the morning, have a pen and paper ready at your bedside and write whatever comes to mind. You can always edit in the morning.

    • Casey says:

      In baseball there is the expression “out dumb yourself.” Meaning that when you think too hard you aren’t out smarting yourself your out dumbing yourself. I feel like everybody can suffer from this. And, I am so glad that someone as smart as you can admit to it, so I know I am not the only one.

  3. Benz says:

    I’ve been thinking a lot about this. When the pressure is low, you can be more creative, and often more effective. This is why Wayne Gretzky was the greatest–even in the Stanley Cup games, the truth is, he was still a kid who couldn’t get enough hockey.

    Tyson says the same thing: “the most effective fighter is a happy fighter.”

    Which is a preface to some brain research that proves essentially the same thing: if there is pressure, we react more effectively for simple tasks–bolting a on in your part of the assembly line. But without pressure, when you are having fun, it is easier to design the car.

    This is why Google does laundry for their employees.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pink_on_motivation.html

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