Self-editing (musical and online)
I’m an ardent proponent of self-editing when it comes to working on my music. In a sense, this is where the ‘work’ really comes in – making listening notes for a particular track, isolating the parts that aren’t working and the parts that are, then re-working the track and reiterating the process until I feel its finished / I’m sick of hearing it ! Sometimes this process can be difficult – for example, cutting out a section that isn’t working that I’ve spent a lot of time on, or even more difficult, ditching a whole finished track that just isn’t happening.
For me, I feel the process is necessary to refine the track to the point where it is as coherent and musically interesting as it can be at that time. I try not to be too ‘precious’ about my work and the last thing I want to do is to release material that I’m not happy with (by that I don’t mean I think that’s it’s great – more that it ‘works’). I’ve recently found a ‘slow approach’ works well for me, developing ideas over time and letting new elements develop unexpectedly. Things take time to ‘cook’ so to speak, this is quite appropriate for ambient music I would say !
I’m also a fan of self-editing when it comes to online communications. I keep a text document on the desktop where I write down responses to posts / points made on various forums and the like, that I find to be of interest. I usually re-write these replies a few times before replying (if I do at all). I try to see if I’m making a coherent point or just waffling. Less than a third of these are actually posted. If I think I’m repeating myself too much (up to 4 times is okay !) or just being obstreperous, I generally just scrap the reply. I try to keep a positive approach to these online discourse things, generally ignoring points I don’t agree with whilst trying to discuss things other than just my work and my opinions – this doesn’t always work, but that’s the idea. Ultimately, these thoughts are just that and hopefully, the music does the ‘talking’.