It’s Tuesday, the 9th of October. This won't be published until December, assuming it's published at all but I want to have a bit of a preface to this whole thing and this seems like the ideal time. There's still a decent window before any of this is public but the thing I've been planning since spring of this year is starting to feel very real.
I guess the first thing I want to try and articulate as best I can is why I think a thing like this needs to happen. After all, a release a week for the whole of this year is a bit hefty. It’s well documented and widely accepted that art simply takes time, and that's definitely not wrong. That time is very much to do with the artist and there's no set rule for any of it, but even the logical part of my brain is suggesting to this much might be somewhat excessive. And yet something in me also sees this as a really good idea and I want to try and rationalise that not just to you, the reader (and hopefully listener henceforth) but also myself.
I think the first planting of this seed was NaNoWriMo of 2017, when I started the book that (if all goes well) will be released late this year. For those unaware, National Novel Writing Month is just that, an online event where thousands of participants attempt to write a 50,000-word novel in just 30 days every November. Like many, I had an idea of a book that, in a perfect world, I'd write, but there was never really the ideal time or place to give it a go. And yet I had this idea that I wanted to realise, and suddenly my Twitter feed was filled with people who felt the same. They had this thing they wanted to make, and they were all going to support each other in making the art they wanted to. It was really empowering, and I thought that I'd just give it a go, chipping away at it every day and seeing where it took me. Much like many of the entrants, by standard measures, I failed terribly. I scratched maybe 20,000 words, but I don't think it's about that.
Sure, you can "win" NaNoWriMo, but this is really one of the cases where the taking part is more important than the winning. It’s a huge community of amateurs, not being afraid to be amateur. "Amateur", after all, comes from the 18th French word "to love". It's not about how much these books sell, or even if they get completed. It's taking time to make a thing you care about, which is really the core of why anyone makes a piece of art in the first place. I came away from that month with plenty of ideas for the book and also for the accompanying album.
Another thing I think a project like this does really well is manufacture a sense of meaning. That sounds really cynical at first, but I mean it in a really positive way. When the only person you have to answer to is yourself, it's often really difficult to have that constant sense of motivation one would have with a record deal, a publishing deadline or an adoring fanbase. At the beginning of 2018, it was that lack of structure that was starting to frustrate me. I had loads of material and I was still writing a bunch just because that's what I do. My problem was that I had nothing to do with them specifically. I didn't have a fanbase demanding it, I didn't have many plans by way of independently releasing and promoting any of it. But suddenly, with the Year Of Everything, all these small, kind of purposeless projects had a joint purpose.
So what do I want to actually achieve? I won't exactly "win" or "lose" my own project, and if I did that would involve me drastically moving my own goalposts. Neither do I expect anything external to come of it either. Where I believe that leaves me is just open to the idea of having as much fun within my means as I possibly can. Obviously, I'll be promoting material and I'll working on a tight schedule, but I don't expect any kind of big recognition after this. That said, I do believe that "iterating in public" is a great way to help define your own parameters and really light that fire under yourself. So where does that leave me? Mostly, doing as much of what I love doing to the best of my ability, and sharing it with as many people as are interested.
Let's see what happens.