Tuesday, 3 June 2008


It's strange how easy it is to end up worrying about the wrong thing. I don't mean petty details when we should be concerned with some bigger issue, though that can be important. Instead I'm talking about looking at one particular thing and obsessing over some aspect of it, when it's really another that's going wrong. This happens to me quite a lot, though recently I've been seeing through a few of the more obvious wastes of effort. What's made me think about it is that on the musical front, I've abandoned my endless flick-flacking back and forth between economy and alternate picking after realising that I'm concentrating on completely the wrong hand. Don't worry if that makes absolutely no sense, because the broader issue does connect into writing.

With writing, I've realised that I sometimes spend so much time trying to write great stuff, and then trying desperately to revise it so it comes out something like I intended, that I don't put enough into doing anything with it once it's together. Or I'll spend ages worrying over the minor details of a poem without asking myself if I should maybe be using a different form completely (or maybe actually getting on with revising the next chapter of the PhD. I wonder if they'll let me hand it in in verse?) Either way, it's a weird feeling to suddenly realise that you've been doing the wrong thing all morning. Or, in the case of my picking technique, for about the last fifteen years.

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