an unexpected reason to start that project

If you are thinking about starting a project–making a website, painting, writing music, starting a blog, looking for a new job, redoing your kitchen or getting into shape, I hope this post will convince you to dive in.

This is my unusual case for going for it.

Or maybe I just think it’s unusual and I’m not actually that unique. I don’t know. Who cares. What I am certain of, is that I know how to do things today that I never would have learned, if I hadn’t started several projects that may or may not come to “anything.” Whatever “anything” means.

My music

I’ve been composing since I was eleven, songwriting since eighteen, but I really started getting into songwriting at twenty-two or twenty-three. I honestly can’t remember when I realized that this was my primary hobby. It was scary to put my stuff out there, to admit to people that this was something I really enjoyed. And things got even more frightening when I decided to record music and post it, officially.

Since then, I have learned how to:

  • Finish a song
  • Write a bridge (which was a struggle for me for a long time)
  • Communicate with a producer (still learning this)
  • Develop new music relationships and let go of others
  • Co-write a song (sometimes over Zoom)
  • Distribute a song
  • Share my music at critique events
  • Function in a recording studio
  • Sign up for a Performing Rights Organization (PRO)
  • Split royalties and divvy up rights on a song
  • Plan and execute a release party
  • Arrange for opening acts
  • Find, secure and pay good photographers
  • Secure and pay sound technicians
  • Design (cute) album covers
  • Get myself and a band into venues
  • Market and advertise
  • Be consistent with output
  • Launch and manage a small crowd-funding campaign
  • Develop a social media image
And the list goes on.

I am not famous. I have not yet written a song for Lauren Daigle (call me?). Yet I never would have learned these valuable skills without making the ongoing project of making music a priority in my life, regardless of how it turns out in the grand scheme of things. I am seeing some truly exciting developments, but that is actually besides the point; I learned these skills way before the good news of today.

My blog

To my 54 followers, I salute and love you.

I have had this blog since 2016, though I deleted most of my old posts because they weren’t of a high enough caliber, by my own admission.

But let that sink in. I’ve been putting out content for 4 years and have 54 followers. Some might call that a failure. Maybe it is. But you know what isn’t a failure?

  • Building a website
  • Navigating WordPress
  • Writing consistently
  • Creating engaging graphic design, for free
  • Allowing my personal brand of humor to permeate my writing
  • Landing on a “voice” in my writing
  • Engaging on comments
  • Developing relationships with like-minded bloggers
  • Speaking the truth
  • Being honest about where I am, on any given topic

Again. Regardless of whether I end the year with the same 54 or 54,000 followers, my blog is worth something because (well, I enjoy it but also) it has taught me important lessons, that I wouldn’t have learned if I hadn’t just jumped in and gone for it.

My podcast

This one is quite new. My current audience size is about 12 people. Haha!

But you know the drill. What have I learned from starting a podcast that I wouldn’t have learned any other way?

  • How to say what I write as clearly as possible (still working on that)
  • How to develop an intro that says what I’m about in a few seconds
  • How to write a musical intro that is both memorable and pleasant
  • How to edit a podcast, which means cutting out a lot of empty space
  • How to navigate the site
  • How to choose a microphone
  • How to just sit down and record the thing (harder than you might think)
  • What I really enjoy talking about, versus writing about
  • What topics translate well to podcast and which don’t
  • How to augment my blog posts, by including an audio version

I just had a conversation with a friend the other day about how it might be better to look at starting projects from the perspective of learning. I am fully on board with this. Starting a project may be is the only way to learn things you don’t even know you need to learn. It may be frustrating or hilarious, as my forays into TikTok, commercial acting, social media in general and side hustles have been, but you will learn things fast and the lessons will stick.

So here’s the rundown on why you should start that project, right now.

Starting a new project teaches you how to figure things out.
Starting a new project shows you how much you always have to learn.
Starting a new project is a faster way to figure out whether something is your speed, than just doing research.
Starting a new project teaches you things you wouldn’t have known otherwise.
Starting a new project prepares you for your big break.
Starting a project might just be a great time.

So get on it!




2 thoughts on “an unexpected reason to start that project

  1. Ashley,

    Thank you for including me on your mailing list.  I’m finding your comments interesting and engaging.  Your podcast piqued my curiosity, so how do I get to listen to it?  God bless you and I wish you well, Ashley.


    Mike Yancy

    From: An Introvert at Large Reply-To: An Introvert at Large Date: Thursday, August 20, 2020 at 7:22 PM To: Subject: [New post] an unexpected reason to start that project

    theashtree posted: ” If you are thinking about starting a project–making a website, painting, writing music, starting a blog, looking for a new job, redoing your kitchen or getting into shape, I hope this post will convince you to dive in. This is my unusual case for goi”

    Liked by 1 person

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