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How do you get over fear of failure?

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I'm struggling to write music lately, and I think it's because I'm afraid that I'll write something bad.  I wanted to be a composer as my career choice but thinking about how I need to be really good to make it as a composer, I'm scared I'll never be that good, that it's a fruitless dream and I can never achieve it. 

 

How ow do you get over that fear?

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Writing bad music is actually the only way to eventually write good music. Ideas can bottle up in a queue, so even if your latest creative impulse sounds like crap you need to give it creative due diligence and do some work on it until your muse is ready to move on. Writing more frequently (short pieces every day, for example) helps because you'll cycle out of the bad stuff more often.

Then as you grow this keeps happening to you but the general quality of your stuff trends upwards. So you still cycle through what you perceive is good and bad, but your now bad is actually pretty good.

In other words, you'll most certainly get better, whether you think you are or not. :<

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All of us start off pretty bad. We've all been there.

I understand that evaluating your own improvement can be hard at first. Don't worry too much about people who criticize you unconstructively. I would suggest that you find a few good people on OCR who are willing to give you honest feedback, and they can help evaluate how much you are improving as you keep writing more music. Plus, you can rest easy knowing that they mean well. It's more informative than figuring things out on your own, I can tell you that. ;)

As for keeping up the motivation? Don't worry so much about the end goal. Focus on what's next. There is no real end goal. If there was, there would be a stopping point, and assuming that invites you to slow down at some point, which doesn't help you get better. :)

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Failure is not writing "bad music". Failure is not writing music at all. If you don't like something, just remember its music, music is subjective. and someone somewhere will adore it. Being a composer means writing things you won't necessarily enjoy or like... hell you might not see any merit in it at all. Having a career as a composer is about keeping someone else happy, not yourself. Sometimes that means writing something in your own style, but usually you gotta fit to your brief. Besides, sometimes a mediocre idea can turn into something incredible if you just keep at it. Never give up, never scrap an idea if you can help it. You never know what you'll end up with, or what may happen.

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You might also find new appreciation for your own work once you share it with others. I've started a jazz/funk band and have never really tried writing original music before now, but the other members have appreciated the songs I've written sometimes more than I have, and sometimes, seeing how they like one of my tunes has made me like it even more.

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15 hours ago, Virtual Boy said:

I'm struggling to write music lately, and I think it's because I'm afraid that I'll write something bad.  I wanted to be a composer as my career choice but thinking about how I need to be really good to make it as a composer, I'm scared I'll never be that good, that it's a fruitless dream and I can never achieve it. 

As someone studying composition I can totally relate to your problem. Right now we're doing this huge project, and for the last few months we've been working on it furiously. I'd work on my piece everyday for weeks, and every Monday at class we'd show it to him. Every time I'd be a bit excited and proud of the stuff I did. Coincidentally, after almost every class I'd feel like going home, cry, and just ly in my bed for the rest of my life. I didn't do such a thing, but our teacher is quite harsh and every week everyone would get quite a lot of criticism (feedback) on our compositions that we had been working on for so long and of which at least I thought was sounding quite nice but apparently didn't work at all. I'd be lying if I'd say it wasn't demotivating. 

 

And then yesterday, I presented my umptheemth version of the song, and then my teacher patted my shoulder and said: "okay, that was quite good". And now, when I compare it to my first version, it really is whole lot better. And I never would have gotten it that good without writing all that other less good versions. So, yeah. Keep writing, be prepared to be told that it doesn't work, ask how you can change it and keep repeating that process. The workshop here at OCR is a really nice place for that, but getting face to face feedback from some local composers is really helpful as well. All of the composers I've met so far are all really nice, and generally prepared to help new composers with their stuff.

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6 hours ago, WillRock said:

just remember its music, music is subjective. and someone somewhere will adore it.

 

Doing compos has made this very apparent to me. I can think that what I just made was total garbage and people will like it, or I can be like "this is the best thing I've ever made" and it doesn't do as well as I thought. As an artist it's hard to predict how other people will react, and you might like or dislike your own work for reasons that aren't apparent to anyone else but you.

 

You also don't have to release everything you make, just write tons of music. Trent Reznor has said this has been more or less the process him and Atticus Ross have used in their film scores since they don't have the experience in that field that others do, if you have the time to make a lot of music some of it is probably going to be ok.

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I've never been scared so I can't give an answer to that but I'd say "just do it". And as that Nike slogan is used for sport, you could say writing music is like training a muscle. It is somehow; your brain. You do it, that's it. If it sounds good, it is, even if it sucks.

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Is a little child afraid of falling? If so, then we wouldn't have learned how to walk right?

Ok let's say you attempt making music today and it sounds horrible. What happens after? Will we laugh at you? Will Obama stand in front of your doorstep to ask you not to play music anymore, cause it sounds bad? Will you feel embarrassed for having shown what you wanted to do? Will people point fingers? Sounds pretty childish, right? Those kinds of reactions on your attempt.

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Your first attempts at writing music aren't even close to being as bad as my first attempts.

No really, I could post examples if anyone wants.

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3 minutes ago, Slimy said:

Your first attempts at writing music aren't even close to being as bad as my first attempts.

No really, I could post examples if anyone wants.

As a newbie who is terrified of showing his first attempts to pros, I'd be very intrigued. 8-)

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3 hours ago, der_r said:

As a newbie who is terrified of showing his first attempts to pros, I'd be very intrigued. 8-)

Well, I would try to first stop thinking of us as "pros" and start thinking us as a community of people who live and grow together musically. OCR isn't just a showcase, the community forums are here specifically for this reason. 

Other than that, I can't offer too much other than platitudes about failure being the only form of success. It all boils down to: chill out. Try things. Ditch what doesn't work and keep what does. Love music. 

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5 hours ago, Metal Man said:

Some of the greatest discoveries came out of "failures".

Making mistakes in my DAW often gives me fresh ideas.

On 1/27/2016 at 5:06 AM, der_r said:

As a newbie who is terrified of showing his first attempts to pros, I'd be very intrigued. 8-)

Well first of all, if by "pro," you mean me, then look no further than the critique I got on my most recent remix:

 

Anyways, here's my sins laid out for all to see.

 

Spoiler

 

Some of the earliest songs I've ever written:

An attempt I made at a remix?

Songs that demonstrate I knew nothing about how percussion or orchestras work:

Songs that demonstrate I knew nothing about mixing or mastering:

An attempt I made at writing sort of atmospheric/orchestral stuff?

 

 

 

I have two suggestions for new composers - Study and dissect midi renditions of songs you like in your DAW to see how they work and why, and try writing some songs for piano because it's simpler.

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"Someone I am is waiting for courage, the one I want, the one I will become will catch me.  So let me fall, if I must fall."

 

Failure is how you learn, failure is how you become the next thing you will become--success confirms only what you are, but failure makes you grow. 

 

Embrace the opportunity to grow with all your heart.

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Man the replies on this topic already have been awesome, had to check this thread out as i have such fear myself to fail always. As basically everyone pointed out of course failing is the only option to get at least some feedback on what is wrong and then trying to get better from there. But in my opinion it doesn't mean of course that a person should try to fail, so to speak, and what i mean by that is that i for one have sometimes almost kind of given up and then just rushed some stuff to completion with the current skills and software i have rather than taking my time with them. Which makes me ask a question on which i honestly don't have any idea: Should i delete my old productions just clean off from internet? I have started deleting some of them because they were just awful in a way, but not all of them as they have had some flaws in them especially in EQ, mixing and mastering area not in all areas? But then again why should i keep them if they aren't that good still? just to show this is where it started? or should i kind of remake them and then re-post? i don't know

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Failure and success are part of a personal journey--and music and art are pursuits that demand a lifetime to master.

If your goals online are to expose and reveal this personal journey, then put it all out there and be sincere about it.

If your goals online are to present yourself as a viable contractor or enterprise, shape your presentation to demonstrate the best of your skill.

Michelangelo burned all of his practice sketches because he knew people would only believe in his genius if they only saw his polished works.

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I know failure all too well. I'm an amateur remixer, bassist, guitarist (been playing over 4 years), and Electronic musician. I have an eccentric style of my own and use FL Studio as my DAW. Despite working my hardest on every track I do, I've been denied by the judges at least 3 times (the first two rejections were quite understandable looking back) and got last place in my first remix contest. Like Slimy, I'm here to atone.

This was supposed to be a boss theme for Masky (Marble Hornets) and was the latest track I've uploaded.

This is the DJ friendly predecessor to "Behind the Mask". 

This was supposed to be a DnB Remix of "Newbark Town" (Pokemon Gold and Silver) but didn't turn out well.

Sad thing is this is all fairly recent stuff. Tell me what you guys think and how I can improve. Just wanted to share my failures/accomplishments in hopes of improving. Have a nice day.

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