In 2018, solitude is a hard thing to come by. Because our daily lives are often revolved around technology, the non-stop noise of the internet seems to follow us everywhere we go. Whether we’re working on our computers or keeping up with friends and family on social media, solitude is something a person needs to seek out if they want to find it today. But while the distractions of modern culture brought on by technology impact everyone, songwriters are especially affected.
How technology impacts solitude
Solitude is essential for musicians who are trying to write music. That’s nothing new. But for those musicians who rely on technology to make music, there’s huge new challenges posed by the internet. If your laptop is the main tool you use to create music, it can be easy to give in to the temptation of checking notifications, the news, email, and social media over and over again during a writing session. Distractions like these mean that songwriters working two decades ago had a much easier time focusing on their craft than we do now.
And while songwriters who don’t exclusively write music on laptops have it somewhat easier, most everyone has a smartphone now, so technology distraction is a problem that impacts most songwriters in 2018. Figuring out how to work on music in a distraction-free environment is something every musician should be thinking about.
Why musicians need to make discipline a priority
Remember when you first learned how to play an instrument? It took sacrifice, hard work, and loads of discipline, most likely. If musicians want to write music in a distraction-free environment, they have to choose to create that space for themselves, but it’s not easy. The same discipline that helped you weather challenges in learning to play an instrument can help you create the distraction-free time and space you need to make music, but it has to become one of your priorities.
Tools for carving out distraction-free time to make music
If you’re a songwriter that heavily relies on your laptop to make music, then software programs designed to help people focus in their computer work are worth looking into. For songwriters who primarily write on a main instrument but struggle to not look at their phones every two minutes, the answer might be as simple as committing to carving out phone-free time to write music during the week. Set a standard where no matter what happens, you’ll have x number of hours dedicated to writing sessions where your phone stays in the other room. And before you think this is a problem that only affects young songwriters, think again. As people rely on smartphones more and more, musicians of every age and background are impacted. This isn’t a problem that only affects millennial songwriters.
If you write with a partner or a full band, keep each other accountable. Setting a tech distraction-free standard for your writing sessions isn’t easy, but it’s important for musicians who want to get the most out of their time writing.
Patrick McGuire is a writer, musician and human man. He lives nowhere in particular, creates music under the name Straight White Teeth, and has a great affinity for dogs and putting his hands in his pockets.