Monday, February 16, 2015

Create52: #7 -- Getting it Right

(image from pixabay)

In my last Create52 post, I talked about the fun of creating impromptu things, and I shared some music and writing that I'd made on the spur of the moment.  But for this post, I'm going in the opposite direction:

Sometimes it's worth taking the time to get it right.

Building a watch requires that each gear has to mesh perfectly in order for it to function. This type of work is hard to do on an impromptu basis -- you have to have a solid plan to make each gear and to know where each component goes. You can't just improvise your way through the process. 

Some creative efforts are that way, too.

But before I go any further, let me offer another reminder of what I'm doing in this Create52 post:

This is the seventh of what I hope is a year-long series of 52 posts under my self-imposed 2105 blogging initiative -- to create something new and share it here on my blog each and every Monday.

If you'd like, you can get a little more background about my Create52 goal HERE, in my first Create52 post of 2015.

Now let's get to some examples of what I was talking about at the beginning of this post:

Getting it Right #1: Git Right On Wit It 

Recently, I took another very cool wikiloops jam I'd found and added two quick guitar tracks. I called it "Git On Wit It". As another off-the-cuff jam, it was certainly fun to do, and my rhythm and lead guitar tracks weren't completely terrible. In many cases, I'd have called it "good enough" and moved on, perhaps even sharing the piece here.

But the more I listened to the finished track, the less I liked it. 
The underlying jam I'd used was excellent -- the intricate layers of drums (by "Baer" and "MrAdamOnDrums"), xylophone ("Fred"), upright bass (wikiloops founder "Dick"), and saxophone ("MrSnuts") had come together really well, but my loose improvised guitar on top just didn't do the jam justice.

So I called a do-over. 

I took the time to really listen to that jam track, learning and documenting each section a little better ("Ah hah! There's only 14 bars in this part -- not 16!"). Then I added not two, but eleven distinct guitar parts, with several takes until I was happy with each one. that time and effort paid off, I think. I call the revamped version, "Git Right On Wit It" and I invite you to check it out by clicking on the pictures on either side, or by clicking HERE

It's still not perfect (the tone I chose for one of the lead tracks ended up really making it really buried in the mix, for one thing), but I do think it is WAY better than my earlier thrown-together version.

Improvisation is fun and magical when it works out, but some things are worth taking the time to get right. I think this jam was one of them.

Getting It Right #2: No Imagination

As much fun as it is writing something on the fly in response to prompt words, that is actually not my normal mode of operation.  A big reason why my writing output remains so low is that I am a horrendous self-critic and in my 'serious' writing, I typically nitpick every word until I'm satisfied.

Here's a brief example.  

This is a piece I submitted back at the end of December to the site, 50-Word Stories -- one of two I'd sent in.  The other piece ("I'm Alive") was accepted and posted on the site, but this one was not.

Yet this is the one that I worked the longest on, and actually the one I thought was the 'better' piece. I had edited and revised it many times in the weeks leading up to its submission. It's kind of funny to think that a story consisting of all of 50 words goes through a lot of editing, but in this case, it did.

The story may not have been accepted at 50-Word Stories, but I still think it is the stronger piece, and it was worth the time to get it right. 

See what you think -- I call it "No Imagination":


No Imagination

I imagine us together.

I imagine you committing. I picture us making plans.

But you can't see it.

Instead, you tell me to get off your porch. Then you slam the door.

So I take my Acme Vacuums sales kit and leave, hoping your neighbor has a much better imagination.


So do you think these pieces of music and writing were worth taking the time to get right?  Do you tend to lean that way in general? Which do you prefer -- In-the-moment creation, or meticulous editing and revision?

Thank you so much for visiting!  See you next week for another Create52 post!


  1. Interesting music for sure. Not quite the relaxing groove as on the previous post, but definitely good. I like the xylophone touch. This is an instrument often neglected in music, perhaps for good reason, but when used effectively I quite like it. That's something I like in a lot of Zappa's music in that his use of xylophone gives many of his pieces a quirky and even comical touch. This jam is excellent though.

    The written piece is very clever. I liked it.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

    1. Hi Lee,

      Sorry for the delay in responding -- it's been a crazy week!

      Thank you for the kind words! Yes xylophone/vibraphone music can be pretty cool -- I always think of Gary Burton, especially his albums with the young Pat Metheny.

  2. And you can hear all of that guitar work. Yeah, I can't half-ass anything. It has to be done right or not at all.
    That short was clever all right!

    1. Thank you Alex! And you can see that attention to detail in the "Cassa" series, too. :)

  3. You gave me quite a chuckle with your Imagination!

  4. I definitely enjoy the upbeat style of the new music...and the wit of the writing! :)

  5. GgC ~
    The tune was Cool AND Funky. I loved that thick, heavy tone that kicked the door in at the 1:47 mark, and I also dug the semi-false stop at the end. Like Lee, I too enjoyed the additional musical element provided by the xylophone. Very well played all around.

    The 50-word piece was really good, too. I loved the humor in it.

    I learned the hard way that I have to be careful about reworking a written piece until I've overworked it and killed the life in it.

    Many years ago (make that "a few decades ago") I had written a poem I liked. I thought it was pretty powerful stuffs. Maybe a year later I reread it and thought: Well, it could be better. If I just change a couple words here and there...

    So I rewrote the piece.
    Some time later I rewrote it again. And some time after that I rewrote it yet again.

    When I finally got done "perfecting" that poem, I had found that I had literally bled all the life and power out of it by trying to write too "fine'; trying to sculpt every word until I had somehow managed to sterilize the entire poem and made it worthless. And, unfortunately, by that time, I couldn't even remember how it was worded originally, so I couldn't restore it to its original form and power.

    So, yeah, there's something to be said for taking the time to really mold something special. But, at least in my case, I have to be mindful of not trying to make it "too perfect" and thus sap all of the spontaneity out of it, which in some cases might actually be the thing's strength.

    Nice blog bit, Brother. I was outta state for a little over a week, which is why I haven't been around lately.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    1. Thanks, Stepehen! Yeah -- I get the "over-tweeking" thing. It can take all the life out of a piece if it's too "perfect" But so far, that's never been too much of an issue for me. I'm still well away from "perfect" :)

  6. I doubt you're going to find this a shocker since we're CPs, but I prefer in-the-moment creation :) However, editing/polishing is vital, so I make sure to take as long as needed for that step, too. I just like the initial rush of creative juices better. I like your story, BTW. You added a twist ending in 50 words - very impressive :)

    1. Thanks, Alexia!

      And I think you have a great blend of being able to go with that initial spark of creativity and being able to fine-tune the edits also. :)

  7. As someone who can't even bear to look at that rough draft, I believe in revision and editing. So, yes, I believe in taking the time to "get it right."

    1. LOL! I get it, Robin! I totally understand.


  8. I'm trying to be more spur of the moment, but when I have done "real" writing, it's been edited and over-thought and corrected and streamlined and edited some more. I feel like both are good, and serve a purpose. Some of the best things come from impromptu work, and sometimes - regardless of what others may think of the work - some of our creations just don't "feel" right until we've taken every step we possibly can to refine and polish our work.

    I'm late to the game - had another incredibly busy work week!

    1. I totally understand, Kim -- it's been an insane week for me, too!

      But you did a great job summarizing the balance between in-the-moment and editing and refining your work. Thanks!

  9. I love the imagination of your piece of ' flash'. Kept me guessing up until the end. I would sure love to see you expand that "Mermaid' piece, it was my favorite so far (at least of the short flash fiction.

    As far as this music goes, I would have to say that you definitely got it right. I enjoyed it immensely.

    1. Thank you FAE!

      And it turns out I was a wee bit premature on saying "No Imagination" had not been accepted -- I hadn't heard anything about it when Tim accepted "I'm Alive" so I'd assumed he'd just decided to pass on "No Imagination". He actually contacted me yesterday and has posted it on today. ;)

      I'm very happy that you enjoyed both my writing and my music!

  10. I like No Imagination. I'm afraid I don't have a discerning enough ear to comment on the music.

    I love creating on the spur of the moment. Then going back and revising the heck out of the creation. :-)

    1. Thank you very much, LD! I think you have the perfect blended approach. :)


Don't be shy -- feel free to comment. I really appreciate your thoughts.