The Rabbit Hole

As a creative person, sometimes I wind up going down the rabbit hole. This especially happens when composing electronic music.

If you’ve played with GrarageBand lately, there must be a few thousand different sounds and a hundred drum kits. The options are nearly endless. So you might imagine how easy it can be to get stuck trying out one voicing after another. I’ve gotten stuck in the rabbit hole for hours at a time.

But I’ve also found a few ways to help stop myself from going too deep into the hole.

  1. Stop what I’m doing. This is easy to say but harder to do. And if I’m successful in breaking away, how long should I stay away? There’s not an easy answer. Sometimes, a few hours is all that’s needed. Other times, you might need a few days.
  2. Do something physically active. When we get too caught up in creative works, we slough off on exercise. Getting active might actually help to stimulate ideas, too.
  3. Give myself time to process. Creativity is not always an immediate thing. Many works are done in steps or layers. Taking some time away from a project might actually be exactly what’s needed in order to reach the next phase.
  4. Do something intellectually stimulating. When I catch myself falling into a musical rabbit hole, I intentionally stop and do something else. I’ll read a book. write a poem, or watch a documentary.
  5. Revisit my work. Once I’ve stepped away for a period of time, I can revisit the work. Sometimes, I’m impressed, other times I’m glad I stopped myself from going too deep down the rabbit hole. It wasn’t going to end well.

Once I’ve dug myself out of the hole, I can refocus with a clearer mindset without any interruptions from Alice. – dse

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Author: Dan Steven Erickson

Dan Steven Erickson is a great undiscovered American songwriter.