Why I Don't Write Any More


This blog is an honesty post. A mental shout out into the void, it might resonate with others out there, but it’s mainly a splurging of my creative thinking.

The whole covid-19 situation has been more than a little bit stressful, to say the least, for everyone. I think there would be very few individuals globally who could confidently say that the pandemic hasn’t touched their lives in one way or another. But there are also positives to what we’ve all been through. And one of the main outcomes has been that a lot of us are now looking at our lives clearer. Seeing what is actually important. Seeing where we want to go. For many there has suddenly been time, or not enough time, or just… different… and it’s now starting to have an influence on our thinking.

Many are realising that they don’t enjoy their work and are looking to pursue careers in what gives them joy. Many have returned to playing instruments again, or crafting, or building bars and playground equipment in their gardens. For a lot of people and businesses they are starting to see the positive impact of people staying working from home. No commute, less carbon footprint… many positives.

It has left a lot of people soul searching and realising things. What matters and what we can let go.

For me what I’ve realised is that I don’t write any more. Or more to the point I don’t write to the double bar any more.

That’s not to say I’m not writing.

I’m almost at the end of my first year of a Masters in Composition – so I’m definitely writing and I’m very much exploring other styles and formats and there’s been a lot of new in the past few months which has been exciting. And teaching this last year has been busy and rewarding, but I’ve found I’ve needed to write a lot of new material to keeps students engaged and new things to keep their spirits up.

So compositionally I have been writing a lot more than in a ‘normal’ year.

But I have realised that I have been shying away from completing pieces. I joyously musically cast on a new work, it flows brilliantly and then.. I stop.

When did I stop writing to the end. I think if I’m honest, it’s been a while.

As I sit and think about my pieces I’m faced with the realisation that a fear has crept in. The fear of letting pieces go and go out into the world. I think the rejection pile has finally started adding up to mean something. Countless music opportunities and call for scores are a constant no, which is understandable as there are so many other wonderful composers who apply and very limited amount of ‘yes’ spaces for them. But it does add up.

I look at the plays and hits on the website. Then I question. Do I need people to hear my works? No. do I need validation from what others think? No… but then… yes.

I wonder when composing started to take more of a back seat as ‘more important’ things took priority. Was it when I became a parent? Was it when I started teaching full time? Was it a natural decline? I honestly can’t remember.

But during this third, and hopefully final, lockdown I have been another of those life rethinkers. It’s a bit like a very slow and on going new years day with new lists of things I want to be. But it has been a good time to think.

It is important. It does give me joy. It gives others joy as well.

Time to face the fear and realise that it’s never as scary as you think it is. Time to work towards the double bar. Time to let the music go into the world. If you like it, fantastic, if you don’t – oh well.

I need to go back to what brings me joy and make that a new priority.

Time to write.