Too Many Ideas?
Updated: Oct 29
Working with creative people, having too many ideas can get you just as much stuck as lack there of. Getting too many ideas at the same time is a common challenge creative people deal with every day. We jump from one idea to another and end up with too many unfinished things on our hard drives, exhausted and frustrated, too much unfinished business.
But there are systems to get around this which might help you move forward more intentionally and narrow the pile of ideas into fewer common themes, concepts or what I like to think of as creative Lanes which have something in common.
For me, conceptualizing (visualizing) a creative lane helps me work more intentionally toward a goal. A creative lane has something in common, a specific theme which can be made of sounds and soundscape, instrumentation, genre etc. which helps me work towards a well defined goal: As a result I end up more often with a collection of tracks that works together as a whole and I can present as an album or a themed playlist. The best part is I have managed to finish more tracks faster and grow my music library as a result.
I have a few of those "lanes' in place and I try to stick to them as much as possible. Every time an Idea pops up, I see if I can match it with any of the lanes I have in place before moving on doing something and almost entirely randomly. Is it an idea I can work within a lane of collaborations I have in place? Is it a good fit for those instrumental slow-moving piano cues I work on weekly? Or is it something which doesn't fit well to what I am focusing on and would probably just consume my precious time better spent on something else.
Picking a lane is also how you prioritize. Focus on the more important things (low hanging fruits first). When writing an album you plan to pitch for a music library, you probably need to keep it coherent and avoid any major U-turns. Having well thought-out lanes in place might help you reach that level of cohesiveness and reach your goals faster and eventually help you build your library at a faster pace.
Some of my lanes are:
Vocals (which is split into 3 sub-lanes depending on style/vocalists/collaborators)
Slow-moving Piano. Sparse and slow, specific piano sounds, tempo and soundscape. Atmospheres with sparseness, neo-classical simplicity and emotional weight
Energy. Drums and driving bass with breaks, sometims empowering and driving, sometimes more dark and driving. Music which is well suited for sport, gaming and advertising.
There are many ways to do this and there is nothing right or wrong here, but being able divide 100 different songs into 3-5 lanes or folders or themes, however you want to think of it. It helps you declutter your mind and be more precise in decision making and focused on what you need to do to get those songs over the finish line. It is not just trial and error anymore!