Category Archives: Creativity

Kaizen and SongWriting

Kaizen  is the idea of continuous improvement.

Something. Anything.

In anyway shape or form.

Today, write a lyric. Write a poem. Play guitar. Watch a Reason tutorial video. Read a book on How2Rap. Run a few laps around your block. Do those vocal exercises. Find out who Robin Frederick is.

Something. Anything.

Do something that will make you 1% better than you were yesterday.

It adds up.

Of course, always feel free to go more than 1%. go 110% if you want.

But keep going.


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Neil Strauss and Tim Ferriss have a conversation about writing and being creative.

When it comes to authors that have influenced my way of thinking, there are none others that I can think of other than these two.

With The Dirt, The Game, Emergency,etc. and his pickup lines and 30Day Challenge, Neil Strauss has done alot of things to shape my worldview and social life.

And I also remember the paradigm shift that The 4 Hour WorkWeek gave me after a friend I met in LA recommended the book. He also gave me a lot of different ideas when it comes to time management and virtual assistants. There’s definitely a lot to learn from this talk.

Ever since I’ve always thought ways I can improve my life. Every which way. In these youtube clip, the two of them discuss a lot of different techniques, obstacles and anecdotes about what it takes to be creative. Here are some of my notes.

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Book Review – Coaching The Artist Within by Eric Maisel

It’s ok to make mistakes and messes. – Eric Maisel

Creating something is not easy. Artists, if they’re being honest with themselves, will tell you that every blank page is terrifying. Every new musical composition is frightening. So why bother creating? What makes people want to create? Eric Maisel has gathered together a collection of explanations and exercises that will give every creative person insight into what goes on in their mind and how they can harness their power.

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Book Review: The Bedwetter By Sarah Silverman

In order to be in the entertainment business, you gotta be three things, honest, daring and hard-working. The funniness is just a byproduct of those three things. Sarah Silverman is a very entertaining person. There is a shit-ton of funny stories in here. Right from the get-go, Sarah documents her bedwetting at an early age and how a celebrity confession helped shape her backbone. It’s amusing story after amusing story, a lot like her show. Comedians, in general, are very insightful people. Able to turn awkward experiences into orange chicken for the rest of us.  

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Billboard Hot 100 May 26 – June 2nd, 2013

(1)Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Can’t Hold Us ft. Ray Dalton
(2) Pink – Just Give Me A Reason ft. Nate Ruess
(3) Justin Timberlake – Mirrors
(4) Bruno Mars – When I Was Your Man
(5) Rihanna – Stay ft. Mikky Ekko
(6) Florida Georgia Line – Cruise ft. Nelly
(7) Selena Gomez – Come & Get It
(8) Imagine Dragons – Radioactive
(9) Icona Pop – I Love It ft. Charli XCX
(10) Daft Punk – Get Lucky ft. Pharrell

Not too much change in this week’s Billboards Hot 100. For the most part, it stayed put like a stop sign.  Have you guys gotten to check out the new Daft Punk cd? It’s really good and groovy.  I’ve been watching a lot of TheVoice lately, so I’ve started to really dig country. Florida Georgia Line’s song is not bad…. Haha!  Country has always been a bitter taste for me, but my taste for it is growing. Im looking forward to more Icona Pop singles. And checking out Charli XCX’s production discography. Very dance pop friendly and girls love it! Im looking forward to seeing what the summer does to the Billboard charts.

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The Most Important Song You’ve Ever Written by Pamela Phillips-Oland

I’ve been reading this book called The Art of Writing Great Lyrics by Pamela Phillips-Oland, and I came across this awesome section talking about how you have to give it your all now. Whatever it is you’re working on. Whether a song, a blog post, tonight’s dinner, anything and everything. GIVE IT YOUR ALL NOW!!!!

Here’s what she said.

If you’re a professional songwriter, people are depending on you for your best work every time. Each collaborator has taken care and pride in his work and expects you to do the same. Thus, my advice is this:

Approach every song you write as if it is the most important song you will ever write.

Don’t say, “oh this is just for…” or “This isn’t a special project.” If it isn’t an important idea, melody, or project, why on Earth should you be wasting your time to write it? Each time a composer asks me to collaborate on a song, I give it everything I’ve got. If a great line occurs to me, I don’t hold it back, saving it for some imagined later, greater project. I choose to make this project the great one. There is no tomorrow or next song when you’re writing a song. This one right now has to carry all our talents, gifts, abilities, aspirations, creativity.

I know it’s tempting to hoard good ideas, but the most miraculous thing about ideas is that they never run out. Ideas are like movie heroes. They always come and rescue us just when we need them most! So never worry about putting a great idea squarely into the song you’re working on right now. Tomorrow’s song will take care of itself. Right now concentrate on making this one the best you’ve ever done. Give it all your ammunition, and the rewards you’ll see as the results of a job well crafted will exhilarate and delight you.

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10 PowerfulTips for Brilliant Brainstorming

When it comes to writing songs, any which way you can get ideas is helpful. Sometimes you can’t even wait for inspiration to come to you . There will come times when you just have to grab them. One awesome way to do this is to have a brainstorming session. Here are some tips to help you.

(1) Have Goals – Always begin by quickly going over what needs to be done. Even  if you’re aware of what’s going on, it always helps to have a refresher. First, describe to yourself the project and then clearly state what needs to be done. Some goals could include writing lyrics, arranging the instruments, new melodies, etc.

(2) Keep A Positive Atmosphere – Your attitude decides a lot of what gets done. At the brainstorming stage, just say yes to everything.

(3) Write Down Everything or Type Out Everything – EVERYTHING!!!! That way you have a record of all your ideas and you can organize them later. Plus mentally when you write something down, there’s a certain level of commitment that goes with it.  Also, some ideas might not work now, but you might be able to use them later.

(4) The Ideal Scenario – In Keeping with theme of still having goals, it’s always helpful to have a nudge in the right direction.  Somewhere in between your songwriting session, take the time to visualize what you want to happen.

(5) Don’t Judge – Brainstorming is all about saying yes to everything. You have to embrace the ridiculous, no matter how outlandish it might be. Maybe putting in a drum fill at the beginning of the measure might be interesting. Maybe putting in the orchestra instruments on the verse instead of the hook might sound better.

(6) Set A Time Limit – People respond better to deadlines. When they know that something needs to get done by a certain time, it helps keep our focus.

(7) Give Credit To Your Ideas – Being grateful puts you in the right mindset for creativity. Having a positive view keeps the juices flowing and really helps that   flow.

(8) Turn Off All Distractions – Turn off your cellphone. Shut down facebook. Don’t tweet nothing. You’re here to do work.

(9) Brainstorm With Other People – Sometimes a different view can give you the perspective you need.

(10) Realize when it’s over – When the time is up, and you have all your ideas, it is time to zone in and make something out of them. Remind yourself of what your goal is and start putting the puzzle pieces together. This is usually the part that takes the longest and where you gotta “grind” it out.

When your brainstorming, it’s important to have this attitude of saying yes to whatever ideas may come. Keep things focus.  Write Everything Down! Or Type Everything Out !  Set a time limit for yourself. But every musical idea you get, invite it and be grateful for it.


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Don’t Plan

here is an excerpt from an excellent creativity site called Lateral Action by Mark McGuiness.

Plans are good for some things. Buildings. Savings. Exercise. Some bits of
some businesses. But they have their limits when it comes to creativity. After
all, if you’re only going to execute on a plan, you haven’t really created
anything, have you?
Preparation is fine. Research is fine. Practice is fine. Rehearsal is fine.
Learning your craft is fine. But there comes a point when it’s time to face the
stage, the page, the canvas or the blank screen.
At that point, you need to leave your plans behind.

Sometimes you just gotta go through and let the magic happen.

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Dave Grohl’s SXSW Speech 2013

I remember being in high school, sophomore year, and passing up on seeing
The Foo Fighters play The Metro for $12 because I didn’t have any money.


Anyways, I know this has been out of while, but if you haven’t gotten a chance to see it, take a moment and do so. Dave Grohl’s gives an awesome description of his life as a musician.

The one thing that I took from this is that you gotta take responsibility for your music talent and career. Even from the very beginning, Dave took it upon himself to start recording with his guitar and cassette tapes to when Kurt died and he had to start all over. There’s a real sense of “Doing it cause you love the music.”

Now I gotta go watch the Sound City documentary, which I still haven’t seen actually.

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Why Reading Is Important To SongWriting For Me

There are days when my mind is a blank. Nothing. Just complete and utterness writer’s blockness. And those days suck. But I know I have to take responsibility for everything I do and realizing what gets my creative juices is always something Im grateful for. And one of those engine-starters is reading books.

I know people say reading is a lot exercising your mind. And it is. I agree with that. It’s almost like the feeling of being blocked gets lifted from my head and phrases just appear out of nowhere. Waiting to be written and performed. Waiting to be put in a song.

Mondays are particularly the worst, because I always pig out on a Sunday and my body’s in a physical slump starting off the week. But that’s ok, because all I gotta do is pick up a book. and BAM!

so what do you do to get your creative juices flowing?

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