Building A Fence

Nicholas Tozier flagged up a phrase I’d used in a recent post where I’d said I needed to build a fence around my songwriting during 50/90 to stop it taking over the rest of my life. He asked if I’d say a but more about how I plan to do that in practice. Though I’m sure to fail in some degree, here goes…

The trouble with open ended work (which is what a lot of us are engaged in) there is no clear finish line, or pass grade.

For instance, working for a church, building a website, caring for a child or writing a song is not like building a wall – which, when it’s done, it’s done. How do we ever know when we have truly finished, or made it as good as it could be?

“This church has been fully led!”
“I have achieved an 80% pass rate in childrearing!”

Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Work Week, says we need to forget work/life balance and pursue work/life separation. And the only two things you can do to put boundaries around this open ended work are to limit tasks or limit time.

In songwriting that simply translates as “I’m going to write X number of songs and stop” or “I’m going to write for X amount of time and stop”.

The tricky part is filling in that X. For me on 50/90 it’s

Write for 1 hour a day and network/post for 1 hour per day max.


Write 20 songs max.

20 might sound ambitious but my problem during FAWM wasn’t getting to 14 songs, it was stopping. To be honest I went a bit mental.

So if I do hit 20 and going to turn straight around and start improving the rushed demos.

Download my new song: Faithful & True for free!!!
Other free songs by Matt Blick

About mattblick

Songwriter & Musical Educator from Nottingham, UK. New album Fifty Five Stories Down is out now. Blogging through the entire Beatles catalogue at Beatles Songwriting Academy.
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2 Responses to Building A Fence

  1. Rob From Amersfoort says:

    I’m doing the opposite: work-life integration. On a free day at home I sometimes work an hour (by remotely accessing the workspace). It makes me sharp and focused. And at work I blog and think about music in between work assignments (which relaxes me so I can do my work better).

    On the other hand: I am working on a music production spatial separation: one place to write lyrics, another place to compose, and a separate room to record in. Maybe this will force me to focus more on the task at hand.

  2. Matt Blick says:

    Intergration hasn't worked for me so far (at best I end up doing a tiny bit of everything and not finishing anything, and at worst I end up on Facebook).
    Interesting idea about physically having a seperate space. I can definitely say that having a writing space this year has made a massive improvement to my writing, both quantity and quality.

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