07 – A Bucket-Load of Confidence

For the last few years, my music has graced various stages. I’ve played in all sorts of places, from quiet pubs in dingy parts of sleepy towns, to bustling festivals in busy city centres, and it’s been great! Sure, I’ve had a few bad gigs here and there, but the fantastic ones more than make up for them. Recently, however, my confidence has taken a knock, and I’m not entirely sure why. Something’s got me second guessing chord changes, and overthinking the lines I’m about to sing to the point where I almost forget them. Perhaps it’s that I’ve been dedicating so much time to editing In The Black Blood that I’ve not been practicing enough. Maybe it’s that I’ve started a new job and learning the ropes it taking up the rest of my time. Or maybe it’s because I’ve had writers’ block for a while and the lack of new material is getting me down.

I don’t know for sure.

07 - A heap of confidence

Despite not knowing the exact cause, I decided last week that enough was enough. I was going to break this spell of low confidence the only way I know how, by playing gigs. Without wasting any time, I took myself to an open mic night at the Thomas A Beckett pub, to play music alongside Rhys Gradwell, Kirsty Crawford, and Sam Stopps. That old adage of “fake it until you make it” really is a good one. I went on stage convinced that I was going to be confident, and as a result my set went incredibly well. The following night, I made the last minute decision to head to the new open mic at O’Neill’s in Northampton, where again, my set went well. On both nights I even managed to sell a few CDs.

Bolstered by my mid-week success, I headed to a small festival on Saturday, Read-ing Fest (hyphen intentional). It was a glorious day, the sun was shining, and I took to the stage in front of a smattering of festival-goers. It went well!

If doing three gigs in one week has gone this far towards restoring my confidence, think what the performances I’ve got lined up over the next month will do to help! What’s more, I’ve found that getting out and playing has got my creative juices flowing again. Lyrics have been popping into my head all week, and I can’t wait to see how the next month goes.

Have a productive day.

Points Earned:

Read-ing Festival +15
Rushfest +15
Added ITBB compendium entries +5
Songwriting session with Tom +5
Work on the Super Secret Project +5
Blog post +2

Total Points +128

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06 – A Productive Partner

Maintaining productivity isn’t easy. Many millions of people struggle with it every day. The easy option is to sit yourself down in front of a television or Youtube (who doesn’t like cat videos?) and switch off for the evening. Productivity is the hard option. It can feel like a chore, especially if you also work full-time. That feeling is exactly why I started working on The Points Project. It directly links productivity and fun, and so far I’ve found that it’s helped me strike a fantastic balance between the two.

I’ve also found something else that’s significantly improved my productivity; having a partner in crime! It’s fantastic to have someone to bounce ideas off, someone to provide constructive criticism, and simply having someone there while you’re working on things can make it a lot more fun. Working with someone, even if you’re not working on the same thing, can prove to be inspiring.

A little over seven months ago I met someone who was very creative and looking to get more productive, and we’ve both made a lot of progress during those seven months. My productivity partner is my girlfriend, and seeing her accomplish things drives me to work harder, and we’re always on hand to help each other out. When she posts a blog, I want to post a blog. When I need something proofread, she’ll do it. When she wants ice cream, I’ve got a spoon.

06 - A Productive Partner2

It’s working incredibly well and I’d urge anyone reading this to give it a try. It doesn’t have to be a romantic partner, close friends or colleagues will no doubt work well too, but you’ll need to find someone with a few key traits. Someone who…

… knows how to give constructive criticism.
… knows how to accept constructive criticism.
… you can work beside without constantly being distracted.
… has a similar level of ambition to you.
… is interested in what you’re trying to achieve.
… is trying to achieve something you’re interested in.

If you find someone like that, you, my friend, will have found the holy grail of productive partners.

Have a productive day.

Points Earned:

Open Mic +15 (x2) (While fun, they’re very time consuming. Hence the points value.)
Cassie’s Housewarming Gig +10 (also time consuming, but being paid reduces the points cost!)
Added entries to the ITBB Compendium +5 (x3)
Wrote a blog post +2

Total Points +81