5. Dare to say “NO"
One of the biggest challenges on your road to success will be FOCUS.
You will have to define your goals, and you will have to stay focused on those goals if you want to succeed.
Focusing is about saying “NO”.
During the past two decades I was involved in a large number of software projects, and there are two major principles that often helped me to stay focused and to turn ideas into finalized projects. I also applied those two principles when developing jamplifier.com and when writing this manual for example, and I suggest to apply them to your music too. Those principles are called KISS and YAGNI.
KISS is an acronym for “Keep It Simple, Stupid”. The KISS principle states that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated. You will also note that many of the greatest song ideas of all times have been quite simple ones.
You will find this principle over and over again in this manual.
You cannot improve quality by increasing quantity. Keep things simple, but keep them on a high level.
Limit your song complexity. Limit the number of songs on your album. Limit the number of instruments, tracks, and effects.
Do less, but do it right.
One great idea or one great sound is worth more than a hundred bad ones. You will learn about this very soon.
YAGNI is an acronym for “You Aren’t Gonna Need It”.
As a musician you already know that you need new stuff all of the time. New guitars, new amps, new synths, new sounds. Faster computers, better plug-ins, bigger microphones. More songs and a new car to transport your three new 4x12” cabs. Well, if you’re really honest with yourself, then you know that you probably don’t really need all of that stuff. The fact that you want those things doesn’t mean that you actually need them.
About 80% of the things you think you’ll need will not help you on your road to success.
Or at least not at this point. Buying or doing those things right now won’t help, but will cost you time, money, and energy. Those things will take away your focus from your main goal right now, which is to make better music and to become a successful artist.
YAGNI is about making choices. What are the 20% of things you really need, or that really have to be done?
You will need to fully focus on those things and to forget about the rest. This will save you a lot of time and money, and it will help you to progress much faster. In this manual I will try to keep the focus on those 20% that will help you to really succeed. So forget about guitar number seven for the moment, and focus on the advice in this manual.