I was involved in a discussion over on one of the REAPER forums recently with someone who seems to have been hung up on the production intricacies of one song for months.
It’s probably my journalist background – the deadline’s the deadline. I was often reminded during my newsroom days (and nights) of the scene from Jaws when Quint is desperate to shoot a harpoon into the animatronic monster and Hooper is trying to hold him off long enough to lash a tracker to the barrel.
That is to say, you work as hard as you can right up to the last minute but you do have to shoot, or what’s the point?
In the musical (or generally creative, or perhaps just life) context I’d say the same applies, but you usually have to be the one who gives yourself the deadline to meet. You have to be both Quint and Hooper. I’m all for giving it everything you’ve got, but eventually you have to let it fly.
It’s a bit like a gig. You can practice and rehearse (in that order, please people) as much as you like, but come showtime you’re as good as you can be at the time. A 1, A 2, A 1-2-3-4…
We all have a funny relationship with projects from the past. We seesaw between only hearing the flaws, only hearing the good stuff, liking them, not liking them, regarding them as naive. Eventually, we hopefully just think “Hey, of course I’d have done it differently now, but there are things I like and actually some things I probably couldn’t do now…”
PS This one’s for Stephen – keep at it, mate. You can’t be expected to nail it first time out, or in fact ever. None of us ever do. But what you can be expected to do is DO. And it’s in the getting it done part that’s when you learn the most.