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If you can write words, you can (probably) now also write music
Sharing from personal experience - I'm not classically trained and have written 10 albums, software makes it possible. And, no AI is required (might even ruin the fun).
'Without music, life would be a mistake.' — Friedrich Nietzsche
I previously shared how audio production taught me self-discipline. I’ve also shared some reasons you should make art (of some variety). Expanding on that, just as the web has democratized the tools necessary to spread ideas, software has democratized the ability to write, remix and produce your own music. Programs like Ableton Live have turned the creative process of composition into something relatively straightforward for anyone with a decently powered computer and some imagination. No AI is required (this is nihilism, dude) you should start with the blank piece of paper and pencil, which software now makes more than good enough and provides an entire orchestra at your fingertips, right on your laptop.
As my friend Morgan recently Tweeted, writing has a rhythm similar to music:
And I actually believe the skills are completely transferable — creativity in one domain easily translates. This isn’t professional sports (but even many athletes are cross-domain, so there’s that).
While listening to music and working on some projects this weekend, I got to thinking about how my two passions when not working in tech (music and writing) are indeed closely related in terms of skills and drive used. I strongly believe anyone involved in the craft of writing could also make music, and vice versa. For sure also something like film too. If people enjoy your prose it is likely even more the case they’ll like your art here; how you think is how you create, across domains. It’s really just deciding to build a new muscle.
Similar basic drives
The skill set for writing words and creating music are pretty much the same: the basics (for both) are you must be driven, original and have passion to create something that is actually interesting. With both it simply starts with the desire to do this personally. I find it difficult to believe if you’re writing words you’re not also interested in sound and have an opinion on that. Big labels have abandoned great art just like many large media companies have abandoned great writing. Why not join this movement too? Indie creators publish 1,000s of new songs a day to the internet, it’s an unspoken revolution (large industry even goes so far as to try to break it, but of course they can’t).
Lifelong work in progress
Writing words and music are both similar as each are constantly works-in-progress and probably will be throughout life if you are someone that commits to interests. I do experience some satisfaction after completing a song or album (just as I might with an essay), however very shortly after I am already thinking of what’s next. They’re both infinite puzzles. Further, ideas in one domain can help influence the other, too. I feel more people in modernity need the message of broadening their horizons, a reason many are unfulfilled is they have made some strange decision to become amoeba-like and typecast to one area.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
― Robert Heinlein
Seeing how the sausage is made personally is actually cool here
Most popular artists are fairly soulless. They’re creating as part of a paint-by-numbers approach, it’s formulaic and predictable — corporate art. But also, there are passionate people who are doing it for intrinsic reasons and because it’s a purpose in life. In both words and music, it is obvious who is genuine and producing something with heart and who purely has fluff appeal and is punching the clock. If you write your own music you will to some extent ‘red pill’ yourself here, so be warned. But I think in a good way that deepens your personal meaning.
Hold tight, it will only get easier
Just like you must put in a strong effort in years of writing to build some narrative and learn to be persuasive externally or internally, you also have to put in years of effort refining your music-making skills to become proficient. And for both crafts, the journey of learning, refinement, and experimenting is equally as rewarding as the final product. It all gets easier and more fun as you get in some reps. And just like you don’t need to share the weight benched online, you don’t even need to post your work to the internet for it to be meaningful.
Remember, none of this is about mass attention
Composing music is a rewarding personal challenge that taps into your creativity and inner-self. It's like piecing together a puzzle of emotions and thoughts, using notes and rhythms as tools. This process helps you delve deeper into your own being, uncovering what your soul is comprised of. Music is special here because it is a direct programming interface to the human brain and bypasses most filters. Hard to hide from yourself here. So, making art, including and I think especially music, offers a unique avenue to explore the complexities of being human, offering comfort, release, and ongoing personal development. It's not just a pastime but a path to self-discovery—a challenge that enriches your life in profound ways you likely cannot understand if you don’t try.
Of course, writing words and music aren’t exactly the same and involve different technical abilities, however I believe that the underlying spark necessary for each are extremely similar. And software makes it simple enough to get involved here, there aren’t really aren’t any physical blockers left for those who decide to do both. Lots of you write words all the time and so I think can make the mental jump of why this might be cool to do. I genuinely believe a writer who truly cares about music can now create it, and a musician interested in writing words can be a success there. And by success I don’t mean money or fame, I mean something more important and transcendental. It just depends if that’s something of interest. Also somewhat selfishly, I think we might get some really fun work here from some of you, but that’s of course not the point.