Back in 1992/93, when the 'band' was rolling at its finest, I went through a period of songwriting in which I blanked everything. I didn't buy any records, I didn't go and see any tours (and even though I missed some great bands, I still don't regret it) and I tried as much as possible to not be influenced by anything. It's really hard to do when everyone around you is doing the exact opposite but it was during that period that I came up with some of my best material - yeah, I know, that's a matter of perspective but in the big scheme of all the songs I wrote, those were definitely the best no matter what. I'm thinking that it might be time for such an event to happen again - with a few bolt-ons. Internet blackout as much as I can (given the day job), no news, papers, magazines, no radio talk shows (that means music only - something I can more than cope with) - those kinds of things. I'm tempted to blackout the books too and I'm pretty sure I can do it. Downtime will be fed with a few picked off TV shows and some trips to the movies.
The point of all this? Finishing work off and finding my own voice again. I'm giving way too much attention to others when I need to be occupying that space for myself. Does that sound dumb-ass? It's not supposed to but I need to take control. It's a good plan. I've also been reading about how Winston Churchill threw the rule book out when it came to 24 hours in a day. He recreated his day to be eight hours long, then slept for four and ran it in a cyclical fashion for the rest of his life. I don't know if this is true or not but it sounds great. Eight hours on/four off sounds like you could jam a mega-ton more into a day than normal people. How would that work out? Let's see what happens if we start this on a Monday:
Wake at 9am.
Sleep at 5pm.
Wake at 9pm.
Sleep at 5am
Wake at 9am
Sleep at 5pm
Wake at 9pm and so on...
I guess what you'd benefit from this is a whole working day and then a whole other eight hours during the night when you can do a ton of stuff that you didn't expect to for another eight hours - but you'd still be ready to roll at nine the next day without missing a beat. The initial start time might need adjusting otherwise there could well be starving children not too happy about that at all, but I think we could get around it with some proper thought attached.
Actually, it needs a lot more thought...
Anyway, the point of that was to get closer to my own voice. It's surprising how much the things you let in influence you without you really knowing about it. Not that I think I'm drifting away from myself - I prefer to call it sharpening the saw - but when you see a blunt edge coming... best do something about it.