Yoda famously said to Luke Skywalker, “Do or do not, there is no try.” And even though I understand what the great Jedi master is talking about, I’m going to risk the wrath of the force by disagreeing with him. After all he’s, not even real.
There is “try”. Or at least there should be.
And when it comes to new things, there should definitely be “try”.
Try is how we grow and learn. Try is exciting, stimulating, curious and adventurous. Try can also be uncomfortable, awkward, disheartening and full of failure.
It doesn’t matter- do it anyway.
As a musician during the Covid shutdown in 2020, I was out of work. There were no gigs or performances to be done anywhere, and the “fun” of just practicing wore away pretty quickly as well.
The sudden abundance of free time gave me a chance to try a few new things- as long as though things involved being alone, or being with a very few masked colleagues at a distance of at least 6 feet.
I decided to try my hand at songwriting. I had done other types of music writing before but was never really comfortable with the idea of writing songs, mostly because I’m not very good with lyrics. There was a lot to write about though at that time; Covid, racial issues (George Floyd) and environmental problems. So I took a stab at it.
The experience of writing and recording the song was everything mentioned above- the good and the bad. It was all a big experiment, from the singing (I’m a trumpet player) to the playing of many of the parts myself. I have mixed feelings about the musical result, but am very glad I made the effort to try. Through the process I learned a lot about how to do better next time.
Since that first trial I’ve expanded into writing more and better songs both for myself and for others (more on that another time), but it all started with a half-baked idea and me stumbling through an uncertain process.
A few weeks after the recording, Covid died down a bit, enough that I could get out and shoot some footage for a video to accompany the song. It was released about 2 years ago today.
Here is the result of the whole 2020 songwriting experiment, warts and all. I’m showing it not because it’s particularly good (it isn’t) but because I hope to inspire you to try whatever it is you’re thinking about doing, without worrying whether or not it will “come out right”.
Just do it. Try. Start. It’s not the results that matter, it’s the growth.
Earlier this year I wrote a poem about trying, inspired by one of my favorite writers, Dr. Suess. Read it here if you like.
“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?” –Vincent van Gogh
What new things are you thinking about trying? What are you waiting for to begin?