I constantly rebel against my own innate laziness. Over the years I’ve spent a lot of time in quite unchallenging, repetitive jobs to financially support myself whilst pursuing more creative endeavours (allegedly!). It’s very easy to get into a creative rut, a cycle of counting down the hours at the office and then spending evenings and weekends watching TV, going to the pub, and generally getting sucked into lots of other similar recreational activities that are fine in moderation but can really zap all of your spare time and sense of purpose if you overindulge, especially whilst working in a job that is unrelated to your interests and doesn’t give you much sense of self-worth.
I’ve always loved expressing myself through writing and performing music but I’ve often found that my default position seems to be laziness. Often I’ve sat at my desk at work, thinking of all the productive and creative things I’m going to do as soon as I get home but then, when home time comes, I’m tired and feel the need to reward myself with my rally of favourite TV show or a few pints with friends and, before I know, the evening has gone by and I haven’t managed to do any of those productive things I intended to do. And then the cycle repeats the next day and the next until weeks, months and even years have gone by!
I got to a stage where I found myself getting increasingly glum and frustrated at myself and those around me, feeling like I wasn’t being the artist I felt I was meant to be. I’d get into states where I’d feel so completely pointless that I couldn’t see any good in anything, and then I’d try and make myself feel better with more of the activities that distracted me from working on my songs in the first place. Every so often I would find myself on a creative streak again; the songs would start flowing and life would suddenly all make sense again! I’d realise all over again that I needed to flex my creative muscles regularly in order to feel a sense of contentment. I’d tell myself that I’d make sure I stayed in that frame of mind and that I wouldn’t allow myself to succumb to my laziness anymore, but time and time again my creative streak would run dry and I would find myself in the same creative rut.
I became more and more aware of this destructive pattern over the years and gradually became stricter with myself, not allowing myself to procrastinate so often (perhaps this was partly to do with running out of decent TV dramas!). It took what seemed like a very long time but eventually, by setting myself little goals such as finishing writing/recording a song and releasing it, and sticking to self-set deadlines as best as I could, I started to find that I was working on my songs much more regularly and generally feeling much happier. Consequently, because I was being more productive, releasing and promoting my songs, I started getting much more back from the whole process in terms of other people’s responses to my music, and this just increased my productivity.
I still have to constantly set myself these goals and remind myself not to get into that lazy, worthless state, and sometimes I do relapse but I soon manage to rebel against the laziness and find myself on the right path once more. It’s an ongoing battle but, at this point in time, I seem to be winning!
The song I’ve chosen to share is called Too Busy Framing which is, in part, about this scenario of rebelling against the temptation of going with the flow of the 9-5 lifestyle in favour of being creatively productive. The chorus lyrics state “It’s so easy to conform, to let these moments all pass by” and it is indeed so easy to watch as the creative ideas and impulses come and go, without acting on them. The paradox is that I can now spend so much time being busy writing songs that I sometimes wonder if I don’t get out and live life to the full. I guess there’s a balance to be struck!
Anyway, the message is, if you have a passion for something that you’re not fortunate enough to be doing as part of your job, be it an artform, a sport, an academic subject, whatever, make sure you set some time aside to act on that impulse and work on your chosen activity. Not only will that be something you have to show for your time on this earth in years to come, it may very well make you feel pretty contented along the way!
Right then, I’m off to the pub ; )
My name is Ben McGarvey. I am a British Singer-songwriter/Producer and I go under the artist name Minute Taker. My music is quite song-focused with an experimental edge, incorporating a variety of acoustic and electronic instruments, which has led to my genre being coined as folktronica or ‘digi-folk’. I have independently released 2 albums, Too Busy Framing and Last Things, prompting features in publications such as Clash, Notion, The Guardian, Gay Times, Attitude, The 405 & Manchester Evening News. I chose the name Minute Taker because, to me, it sounds simultaneously mundane and fantastical. I like the idea of making day-to-day scenarios into songs that sound a bit magical and almost fairy tale-like. A lot of my songs start as office daydreams.