New WIP feeling

For music producers, new WIP feeling is the emotion associated with elevating a project file from a sketch to the start of a song โ€” a new work in progress. At least, thatโ€™s what I call it in my head. I assume this feeling is more-or-less universal among us. Not everything you throw into the DAW works, and finding something that does work can feel a bit like hitting the bullseye on a moving target.

For my part, I do my best to remember that new WIP feeling is just a feeling. Feelings are valid; theyโ€™re worthy of your attention. However, not all of the behaviors feelings motivate are conducive to your goals. (I should write a full note on this subject because it applies to way more than just music production.)

Recently, I removed all of my WIPs from my phone. I did this because I was listening to them way too often โ€” maybe a form of maladaptive daydreaming โ€” and I knew it was damaging my creative process. It can reify your mental model of the song in the current state of the WIP, making it harder to reason about how it should evolve. These spurious connections drown out other sources of inspiration, particularly songs by other artists. I try to respond to the urge to listen to WIPs by instead seeking out new music in the same genre & style as what Iโ€™m working on.

Another behavior Iโ€™m consciously avoiding is sharing WIPs with friends shortly after the feeling kicks in. I know full well that the feeling isnโ€™t a barometer for quality. In a few weeksโ€™ time, Iโ€™ll likely be agnonizing over the mix & arrangement, wondering how I ever fell in love with such a mess of a project file. If I really do need a second pair of ears, I can make that call after the feeling has dissipated.