Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Preparation Is Key

with 8 comments

Folks, I recently played a concert with the Racine Concert Band, and I was struck by the difference good mental preparation made in my performance.

When I was younger, I never thought about this at all…I figured if I’d done the work, learned the pieces, my instrument was in good repair and I had a good reed, that’s all I needed to do. But preparation doesn’t stop with the mechanics of playing music; it actually starts there.

Because I have hand problems now, I have to think a great deal more about what I’m going to do, whether it’s with music, writing, or anything else. And what I’ve found is that if I put myself into a calmer frame of mind and tell myself I’m going to do the best I can, and not beat myself up beforehand because I can’t do what I once was so easily able to do, I come pretty close to being able to do what I used to do so effortlessly.

Now, I did prepare for big moments on stage, of course. I mentally played through solos, recitals, various high-profile gigs…so this mindset is not totally alien to me.

I’d never thought about it with a run-of-the-mill concert before, though.

So, as I was thinking about this, I wondered if it might help my writing, to stay in that same mindset as best I can. Just the belief that I can do it may make a difference on a bad day…and we all need that, whether we realize it or not.

Granted, I write on different days for different reasons. Sometimes I am writing an intensely emotional scene and I need to be able to feel that. Staying detached under such a circumstance won’t work.

But the belief that I can affect my own outcome a little…that is worth having.

You see, the biggest threat to creativity is the belief that it doesn’t matter. That who you are, that what you create, won’t ever make a difference to anyone.

We creative types have to have at least a small bit of an ego to take up a creative profession; otherwise, we’d get ground to powder quickly, as creating against strong headwinds is not for the faint of heart.

So, just for today, I want you — and me — to believe one thing:

It does matter.

What you do, what you create, what you are, all matters.

Don’t let anyone tell you different. And keep doing whatever you need to do, in order to be your best self.

Written by Barb Caffrey

May 25, 2017 at 10:36 am

8 Responses

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  1. I agree! While I’ve never played in concerts, I’ve played in front of a crowd enough times to realise that no matter the practice I put in, it doesn’t matter if I’m a nervous wreck on stage. 😅

    I also agree that we creative types need at least a bit of “Wow, your work is great!” to go on, or at least I do, despite the fact that I’m writing for myself.

    Nicolle

    May 25, 2017 at 11:55 pm

    • (Oops, hit the Send key by accident. 😅)
      Oh the bright side, if I enjoy my own writing, I’m sure other people like me will enjoy it too! 😀

      Nicolle

      May 25, 2017 at 11:56 pm

      • That is absolutely true, Nicolle. 🙂

        Barb Caffrey

        June 1, 2017 at 6:34 pm

      • 😀
        Also, I wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the Real Neat Blog Award! ❤

        Nicolle

        June 1, 2017 at 9:53 pm

      • Thanks, Nicolle! 🙂 I appreciate that.

        Barb Caffrey

        June 2, 2017 at 1:47 am

      • You’re welcome! ❤❤❤

        Nicolle

        June 2, 2017 at 7:25 am

    • Yeah, and someone who’s following along with what you’re doing, too, is also a good thing. Someone who doesn’t really know what you’re saying or doing, but says “attagirl” anyway, is not really going to help much…ah, well.

      Barb Caffrey

      June 1, 2017 at 6:33 pm

      • That’s true, but at least their heart is in the right place. 😛

        Nicolle

        June 1, 2017 at 9:02 pm


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