During the 2020 year, I stopped posting to my blog regularly. I kept up with bi-weekly posts up until about January or so, and then stopped posting.
Initially, I stopped posting because my workload was too large. I had two musicals to prepare, a few piano students, plenty of difficult music for the women’s acapella group, and prepared my upcoming releases with Joe Roller, some of which came out in 2020 with still more to come. I kept my blogging output consistent through writing posts in groups of four or five in advance, saving them to my desktop, and posting them according to my alternating Monday schedule.
With dozens of rehearsal recordings to prepare and hundreds of pages of scores to learn, writing simply wasn’t a priority. I keep my turnaround time for clients and projects as fast as possible, and that fast turnaround time comes with some sacrifices. My blog isn’t a client or a paying project, so it just didn’t make sense to prioritize it. I never used it as a sales tool or part of some SEO strategy because I didn’t want to confine myself too much on what I wrote about or how I wrote it. Somehow, I still retained my two thousand readers (now we’re up to four thousand!) but it sat neglected like a mediocre casserole at a barbeque.
In March 2020, my world ended, and I suddenly had more time to write. I didn’t. The sudden loss of opportunities I worked very hard for was difficult on me. I injured my foot on a run after the city closed the climbing gym and got plantar fasciitis. Walking from one end of my room to the other end was extremely painful, so I spent most days working on music and most nights playing Euro or American Truck Simulator. After my plantar fasciitis healed and it wasn’t a workout to walk from my room to the mailbox, Colorado had historic wildfires that polluted the air to the point breathing outside was the same as smoking an entire pack of cigarettes.
While I never stopped reading or composing music, my writing stopped. This was the second time I burned out writing. The first was a year ago, in 2019, after I completed my honors thesis for the University of Colorado Denver. My professor was abusive, so opening up Word or Outlook brought up bad memories. In fact, I wrote some of the first blog posts in Notepad just so I wouldn’t have to stare at the Word interface, and I wouldn’t have to “see” her comments about how I wrote at a freshman level and the UCD English department failed to teach me anything.
Yet, unlike the last period, I can’t put my finger on why exactly I stopped writing in prose. I continued to write music, and this might be one of the most prolific points of my career. I finished up several releases last year, I completed my first two major transcriptions of Buxtehude and Bach and prepared their final editions for publication, I started a new secret transcription project, I recorded an easy listening piano album, I wrote twelve solo piano waltzes, and I recorded dozens of practice tracks for vocal students and my colleagues. This is on top of the nine commercially available Joe Roller releases that float around the internet. I never struggled with writing music, as I am primarily a musician, and sometimes writing in English feels less natural than composing a melody, but that is a whole other story.
Despite these accomplishments, I never wet my digital quill. Part of the reason is that I started reading more blogs, and I hated the directions other bloggers took with their writing. I didn’t like the LinkedIn Philosopher, who is a young man my age with business expertise that he learned from Instagram University condescending to me as if he started the next Microsoft. Then there’s Blue Hair Suzy who publishes her controversial Hot Takes, who researched her incredibly banal opinion with the same CNN, Fox News, or NPR articles everyone else reads. Let’s not forget SEO Mike, who could write an interesting blog, but instead insults the English language by writing blog posts as if they were poorly thought out computer code, with choppy ideas and first-grade language centered around a group of keywords a marketing team came up with that a Google robot enjoys “reading,” and leaves a reader like me mildly annoyed. Oh, and there’s Obvious Alice, who read a blog post about the “Top 10 Things to Write On Your Blog,” and writes the same posts everyone else does.
I didn’t want to make my blog like any of theirs. Writing about the music business felt a bit duplicitous, as I am not very successful or important in the grand scheme of it. I don’t spend enough time researching political issues to develop interesting or nuanced opinions like Bob Woodward or Radio War Nerd do. I don’t write for SEO, and ironically, since people search with natural language, my blog posts do far better than most people who treat SEO as black magic. I also don’t want to write about the same things everyone else does. There is not point to it, and I might as well unpublish my posts.
So, what will I do? I want to focus my blog on three areas. The first content series will be “Lend Me Your Ear.” I will take a recording I like and talk about what I find interesting about it. The second will be “Linear Notes,” where I will give a detailed description of how a track came about, the personal things behind it, and some interesting production trick I used. I also want to write more personal essays, as those tend to be more interesting than political philosophies or business tips. I also have a series coming up called “Swan Songs,” where I will write about the last normal days I had before the pandemic uprooted everything.
I hope you enjoy it, and I will post twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays from now on.