Show Your Work!

So this book was pretty disappointing. Mostly because I read it and STILL haven’t been discovered.


In case you’re having trouble reading the fine print, it says, “Share Your Creativity and GET DISCOVERED.”

I read it at least a month ago with my musical endeavors in mind and still find myself working that engineering job down the hall from Dilbert.


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Okay, okay. In truth, it was more so about the large exclamation preceding the tiny bit about getting discovered. SHOW YOUR WORK! One key concept author Austin Kleon emphasized was the importance of sharing not just finished work, but also your creative process. Well, I really like that idea because right now I have a lot of process and absolutely nothing finished to share.

I’ve been dabbling in a little of everything since selling my soul to the piano. Re-learning some of my favorite classical pieces. Fumbling my way through a pile of new music I got for Christmas. And attempting to write.

I really, REALLY want to write a WHOLE piece of music. Something that includes piano, a vocal line and lyrics. At first glance, this doesn’t sound so hard. I admit that at times I’ve thought, “I’m not half bad at singing. I can play piano reasonably well. And I’m not a horrible writer. I should be able to put those things together.” Well friends, turns out it’s not that simple.

So I thought I would start out by tackling one step at a time. I did accidentally buy a laptop and should be able to start some very rudimentary recording soon. My first slate of songs will likely include one to all of the following:

“Slow Like Honey” by Fiona Apple. Obviously, I wrote none of this. But it is one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite artists. My voice sits well with it, and I have the sheet music. So there you go.

“Stay With Me” by Stephen Sondheim. Again, I wrote none of this. But Into the Woods has been my favorite musical since long before the movie came out. I like that it’s so different from Fiona Apple and, again, I have the sheet music. Also I’m a mom. So, you know, this is like my theme song.

“Piano Only Song” by Me. This is the working title. I wrote about 90% of it in high school, which I find emotionally confusing. On one hand, I feel quite pleased with myself. I like the sound of it, and there’s enough to it that I will actually have to practice before I can play it again. On the other hand, my current self feels jealous of my high-school self. And that’s kind of depressing.

Further from complete, but also in the works are:

“A Vocal Part Written Over an Existing Piano Piece” by Me and Someone Else. I’m thinking the Third Gymnopédie by Erik Satie for the piano. It’s a simple and beautiful piece that should fit well with a vocal part.

“Lullaby” by Me. A capella. Perhaps with some harmony.

“Hourglass” by Me. You guys, this could be THE ONE. I find lyrics are, by far, the hardest part of the song to write. I can’t seem to come up with anything that doesn’t stink of cheese. But once upon a time in college I wrote a poem I actually liked. I’ve always wanted to turn it into a song. Perhaps it’s time.


8 thoughts on “Show Your Work!

  1. So you sent me down the YouTube rabbit hole, and it was fantastic. I love Fiona Apple, but I do not own anything of hers. My husband is the one who turned me on to Into the Woods. He was Cinderella’s prince in high school. Music is my love language, but I am not a composer or lyricist at all. I cannot wait to watch your process evolve.

    • I’ve been diwn very similar YouTube rabbit holes. How fun! I’m so jealous of your husband! I would have loved to do that show. And I’m definitely not a composer ir lyricist yet… Hoping to get there!!! (Fingers crossed.)

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