When, on the rare occasion, I turn on my music equipment and press Record, I’ve been saving my little songs with oblique filenames like “noodle<date>”, because that’s what these are…anonymous noodles. It’s me noodling around like a guitarist does with his tape deck: recording little ideas, roaming around to see where the phrases lead. Noodling. I find myself getting frustrated with the concept and the process, because since my noodles are incomplete, rough, not ready for display and difficult to straighten out, I tend to leave them in the folder and not touch them later, even if there are some neat ideas inside.
Really, I should be seeing these not as noodles, but as sketches, not unlike a sketch in an artist’s sketchpad. Rough vignettes, little bits where the artist is trying something out, looking at a new technique. Even if it’s a throwaway piece of paper, the artist is experimenting, getting better at the process, perfecting their craft — that’s why art students churn through project after project, page after page, canvas after canvas. The repetition is necessary.
My little vignettes are only sketches. I shouldn’t be proud of them or fall in love with them or prematurely share them with the world in the hope for a handful of Likes attached to my half-assed effort. But I should respect the sketches for what they are: little throwaway projects in view of getting better. When something sticks, I’ll have the chops to re-record them and rebuild them from scratch without the need to dig into the bowl of noodles and spend hours fixing the rough bits enough to hammer them into a project.
As long as I keep drawing / playing / writing, I’ll get better. Busywork is necessary for creative people, and that sense of boredom I feel when doing it (like ignoring homework because I felt it was repetitive) needs to be suppressed right at the outset by looking at the work not with the mindset of “I already got this, thanks” but through the lens of this new “this is self-improvement” nomenclature.