I was recently chatting with a good friend of mine about his latest struggles in the studio.
He moonlights as a songwriter and loves to record his own music. In fact, he’s been doing it for probably 15+ years.
You might think he has released several – if not dozens – of records. With all that time he must spend doing what he loves, it would seem crazy to think that he’s never finished a project.
But he hasn’t.
So he asked, “how do I actually finish this project and move on?” He rightfully feels like he’s been completely unproductive for all those years because he has nothing to show for it.
And that got me thinking – how do you actually finish something you can be proud of? How do you know when the mix is done? How do you focus on a specific batch of songs and actually complete them, rather than start 150 different songs and leave them all unfinished?
As I listed out some of the techniques I use to do this, I discovered that there are really 5 things every home studio owner needs to realize if they want to actually finish their work. If you’ve ever felt like you’re in a rut when it comes to finishing your work, then try these 5 tips out.
1. Nothing is perfect. Ever.
This is so true – so don’t let this hold you up. It is important to make it as great as possible, but even killer tracks have “major” flaws. (Listen to “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera – do you hear the headphone bleed?)
Instead of striving for perfection, strive for greatness. Get your music to the point where you think it is “great” and you’ll be happy with it – even if it has imperfections.
2. The Vicious Cycle of unfinished work.
Consider this. To finish the project, you must make it great. To make it great, you must have experience. To gain experience, you must finish projects.
Yes, that is a loop. Once you understand how that loop works, you’ll see how important it is to move on and finish projects. Because the only way you’re going to get better is by moving on and moving up.
Strive for each project to be better than the last.
3. Deadlines are your friend.
Deadlines might be scary for you. They definitely are for me from time to time. But don’t let that stand in your way – you need to set deadlines anyways.
A good healthy deadline will allow you to set your goals on when different sections should be finished. For example, if you know that you’ve only got 30 days to finish your record, you know that you’re going to want to be mixing it in 20 days. Finishing the production in 20 days is a great goal to set – it’ll help you “move on” and accept any imperfections.
4. Accountability makes a difference.
Tell people when they are going to hear your work. If you give them a hard date, you’ll be much more likely to want to finish it for them to hear.
5. Pass on the project for additional work.
When you get other people involved in your work, you’re teaching yourself to “let your baby go” a little bit. It’s a natural part of life – every bird must fly away from the nest at some point!
If you really struggle with finishing projects, pass on the work to others and let them weigh in. You might be able to barter your services with a friend, or even hire a pro mastering engineer. Having a second set of ears on your project will certainly help, and can give it the final push it needs to be finished.
In a lot of our courses, we take a project from start to finish to help you see every step of the process. This can also help with your own work – as you work alongside us, you’ll learn what to pay attention to and what to keep working on. So hop in a course and start completing your work!