Auditory Creative Endeavors

I dislike Winter very much. I never have inspiration to do anything creative even though I’m indoors for most of the season. Now cut to Spring, my favorite season, and the choice season for critics alike1. I’ve felt reinvigorated to start some new things and start creating. So I have.

Podcasting

Shawn and I have started a new podcast called Sines, Co-Sines, and Tangents.

Sines, Co-sines, & Tangents, our new podcast that's part of our Four Score & Seven Pongs Ago endeavor.
Sines, Co-sines, & Tangents, our new podcast that’s part of our Four Score & Seven Pongs Ago endeavor.

The joke is his name is Shawn Sines, and I’m his co-host, and we talk about all kinds of things that devolve into many tangents. Now that I’ve explained it, the title is now 300% more hilarious.2

Podcasting Setup (Photo by Shawn Sines)
Podcasting Setup (Photo by Shawn Sines)

It’s great to be back to podcasting, and to talk about video games with someone who appreciates them like I do yet has a completely different take. I love the democracy of podcasting much like the open web. We aren’t subject to YouTube ads , algorithms, proprietary formats or delivery. People can use whatever app they want and we own our content and deliver it directly. It may take longer for people to find it but it’s a principle I stand behind.3 4

I also love the technology behind our setup and making a good sounding podcast without a lot of post production. 5

Music

I’ve been getting back to making music. It’s not something I’m terribly good at, but I enjoy it nonetheless. I got inspired last year near vacation time. I haven’t made anything I’m very happy with to publish on the internet yet. But it’s something I’m continuing to do to stay creative. I’ve made several musical equivalents of writing on the piece of paper and throwing it in the trash bin.

In the process I’ve learned more and more about synthesizers. If there’s an instrument I identify with, it’s the synth6. A mix of technology and music.

Making music has reminded me when I started with photography. I wasn’t amazing when I started taking photos, but with years of experience and understanding the tools I had, experimenting, I’ve reached a point where I’m happy with it. For music I have been using a MIDI keyboard and my iPad with several different synth apps, and sequencers. Some might dismiss this as not “real” music. That opinion disheartens me. I grew up with electronic music by way of video games. In many instances the creators of music in video games were simultaneously programmers and musicians, writing the music in code. I read an article on Bandcamp about all these amazing genres of obscure music and it was enlightening. There’s room for everyone and taste in music is subjective. I will continue to learn and experiment, and maybe I’ll have something to share with the world in the near future.


  1. “Mother Nature raves ‘this season has really started to grow on me. 5/5 it’s a mastapeece'” – The Columbus Gazette March 20th 2017 
  2. The next time a friend doesn’t understand a joke, make sure to explain to them why it’s funny in several different ways. They will appreciate it. 
  3. I intend on writing more about the Open Web and how it’s dying soon. 
  4. Look, I’ve gone off on a tangent. 
  5. There are still a few kinks to work out as I write this. 
  6. If you haven’t watched the Lords of Synth yet, you’re missing out. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXgNo5Smino 

Getting Things Done

I’ve been working hard on being productive. It ultimately comes down to just doing things. But organization and keeping track of things is incredibly important. Here are some things I do to help. I’ll also add while I’m not super productive (I can procrastinate like no other) I still feel good when I get things done.

Remember The Future

Often I think of something that I should do and immediately forget it. For example, I should text my friend to let them know I’m thinking about them, or I need to replace the air filter in the furnace. But after I have that thought it will immediately leave me as I move on to the next thing. Then ultimately I’ll remember again, then forget, and the cycle continues. It’s for this reason that I’m in love with Evernote. It’s perfect for short bursts of thought unloading. And now that Evernote has a reminder feature it’s almost priceless in the utility it brings.

I’ve heard that some have a difficult time using Evernote effectively. I think people confuse it with a service like Google Drive where you can store things and write things keep them in sync. They are similar in that aspect, but the difference lies in the amount of time you should spend in each. Evernote is for quick reference and quick jotting down ideas or tasks. I equate Google Drive for writing longer passages and more of a collaboration tool.

Nag Yourself Bro!

Another service that I use is called Remember The Milk. It’s a tasklist service that’s been around for a while. It can remind you when a task is due through mail, text, push notification, and even your calendar. Remember The Milk is good for tasks that need to be done with some sort of recurrence. It’s also good for keeping a more in-depth set of priority. RTM also ties in to almost every service imaginable like GMail, Evernote, Google Calendar, and more. The latest integration with Evernote allows me to set a reminder on Evernote and automatically show up in RTM as a task. You can do the same with GMail messages. I’ve been using RTM less lately, but I still find it useful for tasks I need to complete on a schedule.

Put It On The Calendar

Setting a date is important for me. As much as I say I’m spontaneous, I’m also forgetful. Dates can set a target to aim for, and when I meet those goals it can help me feel accomplished. When a friend suggests that we should do something together, I will almost immediately say “put it on the calendar”. Sometimes my life can go lazy to busy in moments, and before you know it I’ll forget about hanging out with friends, doing regular maintenance on the car, or other things that are just as important as big projects. When I block out time for a task or just casual time with a friend it will help other things fall together.

Go Easy On Yourself

The first thing I think a lot of people do when making a list is to write down all the big things they want to accomplish, then they take another look at it and get overwhelmed and exclaim, “NOPE!” The key is to break down big tasks into smaller ones, and to put things on list that are necessarily tasks such as watching a movie.

I’m also a big fan of the To-Done list. Occasionally I’ll complete something that wasn’t on my list at all, but I’ll write it down so it doesn’t seem as if I’m doing nothing. It can help me realize I’m being productive even though I haven’t felt like it.

 

All of these things help me get things done even if it’s something as simple as taking the trash out, but overall it also makes me feel better than a lazy slug.

Writing

I’d like to start writing more but I don’t know where to begin.

I have felt incredibly empty creatively, but that’s most likely due that I’m not creating.

What do you do to help get your ideas down? How do you help formulate ideas? What stimulates you to create? What stagnates you?

I think I’m going to start writing about games, since that’s something I know I write about at great length and detail.