Published on 05 May 2021.
Reading time: 2 min.
Originally published in Writers' Blokke.
Andrew Huang is a Canadian musician, producer and YouTuber. He makes videos about music theory and electronic music production; his YouTube channel has racked up over 2 million subscribers and he’s fast approaching a combined 300 million views on his videos.
(His videos are hugely entertaining, even if you don’t know the first thing about music production. This is a great one to start with.)
Along with that, he’s put out over 50 singles, EPs and studio albums.
I’ve recently been working on producing my own album, and have struggled to get it done. It’s easy to play around with musical ideas, but trying to get each track finished is hard.
In procrastination, I’ve been watching Andrew’s YouTube videos. In a video from 2017, he tips the secret to his prolific productivity. Watch from 2.45:
…this is the secret to how I work so fast and create so much. Unless something goes horribly wrong, I limit myself to four takes. Of anything. Guitar, vocals, drums whatever. I do practice enough to get comfortable enough before recording. But a lot the times, it is like today, where I’m putting down my material within a couple of hours of coming up with it.
Andrew prioritises sharing his ideas (he has a lot of ideas) above anything else. Often this means he’s forgotten how to play something immediately after recording it. But that doesn’t matter: his goal is to get the work out there.
This applies to so much more than making music. If you’re trying to write a blogposts, focus on getting stuff published rather than getting it to be perfect. If you want to create an illustration every day, just work on getting lots out there instead of refining one thing til it’s perfect.
(An aside: this is why I love challenges like 36 Days of Type, which is currently in progress. They force you to get creating daily.)
For creative work, practicing and developing is often a case of quantity over quality, despite how uncomfortable that may sound.
So remember: done is better than perfect. Four takes is all you need.
Thanks for reading!
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