Sometimes good enough is good enough

Often I would keep projects on the back burner because I was waiting to get more skilled. Or I would keep projects in a state of incompletedness because I thought if I worked on it 'just a bit more' I would make something perfect. 

I could have started and the fact that I did it would have improved my skill. I could have moved on to a new and better project if I had just called 'done'1 on something knowing it wasn't going to be perfect. 

Sometimes good enough is good enough. 

Does that mean I give a good effort and put it out there? No of course not. You give it your all and make it the best it can be with the talent and resources you have at the time. 

You don't kill your movie script because you can't contact Speilberg. You find your friends and rent some lights and make the best movie you can with the talent and resourses you have at the time. 

You don't abandon your novel because Random House hasn't answered your letters enquiring about submission requirements. You just write the damn thing and put it out as a Kindle book. 

You don't keep your stuff from people because it 'needs more polish' you just show everyone who'll look and take all the feedback you can get. 

You don't drop your dream because you're not good enough. You get good enough by just keeping at it. 

You don't not ship because it's not perfect. Because ... sometimes good enough is good enough. 

 What do you think? Do you agree or am I full of it? Let me know at Facebook.com/SongsTuckerWrote

1 Calling 'done' on something means either shipping it or scrapping it. It doesn't mean keeping it in a drawer to revisit every few weeks for a couple years. Ship it or Scrap it. 

Tucker, once you've learned it you have to do it.

I spent the last nine weeks learning about how to leverage a social media presence in PR and Marketing. The previous year was filled with books by Seth Godin and Chris Anderson and Derek Sivers and many others.

I've learned about how to build an audience, keep an audience, engage an audience. I've learned about multiple possible income streams for songwriters and artists. I've put together a framework of how my different social profiles and website work together. I've, quite successfully, experimented with Facebook ads. I have a lengthy list of ideas of how to share my music. I have people willing to help me and a small amount of success behind me that motivates me to keep going. I, once again, see ideas I've had in the past being done by others.

I feel a bit like I've graduated and I've put all the time and effort into lab work and theory that I can. It's time to put it all into action. Because, while it's vitally important to keep learning in life but it is equally important to get shit done.

Here's to getting it done. Wish me luck, I could use the encouragement. 

Tucker, PayPal buttons? Really?

I have a store where I sell my CD and my book. I have spynoh.bigcartel.com as a shopping cart and it has a Facebook app that allows people to shop in my fan page. Then on my site, my home base, the place where I can embrace my visitors and give them the full Tucker1 I had a link away to those other places. I sent people away from my blog. My music. My newsletter sign up. I sent them away. In my quest to give my potential customers a nice shopping cart experience I, instead, gave them the run around.

 I thought of my goal for the store

  • sell my book and CD

I thought of my visitors goal for the store

  • buy my book and CD

Noticing how neither of them include the phrase "really nice shopping cart experience" I went for the simple approach. I went to PayPal.com and mad some 'buy now' buttons. It wasn't to difficult to put them together because I only have two items at the moment (three if you include a bundle of the book and the CD).

Once I start putting out more products to buy I may need to look at a bigger shopping cart system. But at the moment what I have is just fine. It matches the design of the site, it's easy for a fan to use (a one click purchase path) and it runs on PayPal so it's basically free me. 

I thought I needed to be fancy but I made it complicated. These buttons are good enough and sometimes good enough is good enough.

 

Leave me a comment if you liked, or disagreed with, anything I talked about in today's article. 

 

1 I didn't mean for that to sound dirty. Sorry. 

Tucker, you do know that goals aren't tasks don't you?

Last week I not only recapped my entire last year of blogging in a single post, I told you how I had joined 60 other artists in a 9 week marketing and business skills challenge. Read it when you're done this week's post. 

My six month and twelve month goals.

My 6 month and 12 month goals for my music business

The first chapter of the challenge was on setting goals. Sounds simple right?

I kept writing out lists of things I needed to do: Write a blog post, Contact so and so, Stop looking at tech blogs and write a new song already etc. These are all things I need to do but they aren't places I need to be. They aren't final desitnation kind of things. 

I just kept writing and I wound up with a couple pages of tasks I needed to do. Then I started grouping them into common buckets and labeling them with what they pertained to: Grow Audience, Sell CDs, Sell Kids Book etc.

I still had a million things to do but they all fit into less than ten buckets. They felt way easier to deal with because the were working towards something (not just doing work).

I looked at my big buckets and asked myself “What do you think you can do with all of this in 6 months? In a year?” Then I wrote those down. If they didn't really fit with my bigger buckets I wrote it on my 'more than a year' list to be visited later. As an example I wrote down ‘Make a full length CD’. Since I’ve only just put out my EP it’s not really feasible for me to be writing or funding a new album project. 

Once I had my big goals I wrote them out pretty and hung them on my wall. Now every task I do, will be in support of those goals. 

Tasks: What you do to get to your goals. Goals: What you say you'll finally get done one day. 

If you'd like to know more about how I got to my goals just get in touch. Or if you'd just like keep up with how I'm doing with the challenge you can follow me on twitter, @SH_Tucker, or you can come join me at Facebook.com/SongsTuckerWrote

Tucker, are you asking for a challenge?

If you are one of my regular readers (I love every single both of you), then you may remember some of my posts where I was putting together my current philosophy on Getting To Done. 

These five articles are the mantras and phrases that have been helping me get to done: 

  1. If you want to do something. You have to do something
  2. Done is when you say you're done
  3. Find the reason to say yes
  4. Success is what you say it is
  5. The story is as important as the song

I wanted to get better at networking and buildng an audience for my songs and stories. So, in the spirit of mantra #1, I have accepted the challenge set out by Ariel Hyatt and her book Music Success In Nine Weeks. The challenge is simple: Do each week's exercise and write about your experience each Monday. 

The first chapter is about setting goals so you can look forward to my retelling of the self torture I put myself through because goals I have some trouble with. Tasks I can list out for days. But goals? That's a different story. 

To keep up with how I'm doing with the challenge and meet some of the other artists taking part you can follow me on twitter, @SH_Tucker, or you can come join me at Facebook.com/SongsTuckerWrote 

Tucker, what's the status of your EP?

It's taken a while with a few starts and stops but I finally finished it and the CDs are scheduled to be pressed any time now. I bought a short run of CDs so I'll have a small inventory of discs but I also put my songs up for digital distribution so we'll see which sells out first.

The EP is called 'Born To The World', has five songs on it and the cover art is a photograph taken by a friend of mine1. The songs range from being written in the '90s to just months before recording. Most of this entries here at Songs Tucker Wrote are basically a process diary about how it all came together. 

I'm pretty excited because once the discs are in my hand it will be on my list of done. As I've mentioned several times here Done Is When You Say You're Done. Because it'll be considered done I'll be free to finish other projects like ... figuring out how to sell it.

I keep calling it my EP because it's not an album. Someone asked me what EP stands for, "Extended Play" I said. Then I chuckled as it's not really 'extended play' because it's shorter than an album. The term comes from back in the days when singles were king. An EP was usually longer songs or two songs per side of the vinyl record making it too long to be a single (SP) but too short to be a long playing record (LP). Today it just means around 5-7 songs 'cause the band was too broke/cheap to pay for a full album. 

You can also expect a post about how you'll be able to buy my EP so put $10 aside now so you'll have it handy when I come calling. 

 

1 - His name is Chris Ratzlaff and you can see some of his work at ChrisRatzlaff.com

Tucker, did you ever finish that EP you were recording?

Yes. I did. 

I once wrote an article about how I had finished recording my songs (last year). Following suit in how I finish projects (I don't), I just let them languish in the land of "one day". Recently I got tired of them being another in a long line of unfinished projects so I found the reason to say yes. I created the path to done. Because if you want to do something you have to do something and now the songs are finished. Are they perfect? Nope. There's no horn section and Celine wouldn't answer my emails requesting a duet. But sometimes good enough is good enough and now because done is when I say it's done, I have one more completed project under my belt. 

I do now, of course, have a bunch of other things I need to do in order to complete a different goal but those need their own path to done so I'm happy where I'm at. 

I need some help from my readers. Every single both of you. I need some people to listen to my songs and answer about 5 questions. It will really help me out and you get a sneak peak at this upcoming EP. 

If you are interested please contact me. 

You can get me on twitter @SH_Tucker or through the contact form. Or just email me if you know the address. Or call I suppose, I always have my phone with me. Of course if you have my phone number you could also txt me. Facebook has a messanger as well, if we're hooked up there you could get me. Or knock on my door. You could always send me a letter. Or just talk to me in person if you happen to see me. I think that about covers... Skype I forgot about Skype ... You could hand write a note and share the picture on Instagram (Instagram sounds like the funnest one to me :)

Tucker, how could you say no?

I've talked about my kids' book a lot because it was the first project I completed. Hot on the heels of completing the Zany Zoo I had someone ask if I had another story they could illustrate. I told him about my story Uckey Sluckey.
How could I say no?

Ola Birch,illustrator of the Zany Zoo, asked if I had a story we could translate into Russian. I brought out Gary The Gargoyle.
How could I say no?

My mom will be releasing her album by the end of the year. She asked if I would do the album layout for her in exchange for studio time to record the Zany Zoo song.
How could I say no?

I've been back in the studio finishing up a five song ep. that should be done by the end of the month. I asked a friend if he was still interested in working an art project based on one of the songs. He said absolutely. I asked a DJ I know if he would do a remix of another one of the songs. He said absolutely. 

A local jazz singer has asked if she could record one of my songs on her upcoming live album.
How could I say no?

All of these things are just waiting to happen. The only thing that can stop them ... is if I ever say no.

I don't have to say the word no outloud. I just have to not do the things that people are ready to do with me. All I have to do is focus on something less important until the time come where all these people don't want to work with me anymore. All I have to do is nothing. 

All the projects I've described above are of my own creation they come from inside me. They make me smile when I think about them. I rant passionatley when people ask how they are going. They are what make me want to keep going. 

How could I say no? 

 

Tucker, success is what you say it is.

I've read countless books where they talk about success and they pretty much all say the same thing "Success looks different for everyone. For some: Money. For others: Fame. etc..."

I have, over the years, successfully written a couple hundred songs. I have successfully written a book. I have successfully written a blog post a week for the last eight weeks. I am successful at those things because I am considering 'Done' my measure of success.

One of those eight successful posts was 'Done is when you say you're done', in it I talk about how I suggested two projects to my brother Tim. One of those projects was the five songs I had recorded last year. I had worked with Aaron Young on the songs and had him do some great guitar tracks and I got some strong lead vocals down. I was excited and shared them with a few people but never really did anything with the recordings.

I realized the reason I hadn't done anything with them was because I didn't consider them 'Done'. I just kept thinking how great they would sound with harmonies and drums and bass and all the other things that would complete the songs. Last week's post is about my adventure getting to the recording session where we were recording the drums and the bass guitar. You can be sure I'll share them this time because they'll be 'Done'.

Because Success is what I say it is, I'm excited to figure out what my next measure of success will be once 'Done' is just a task to be checked off and not a goal to be accomplished.

What are your measures of success?

Tucker, done is when you say you're done.

My brother Tim plays bass in a band called Barrage. While he was back from tour I asked if he would play on the Zany Zoo song that inspired the book. He seemed excited to play on the song and when I suggested a different project he asked "But if we do the Zany Zoo isn't your project 'done'?"

It was an interesting question and made me ask 'What is done?" I've completed the book I could be done. I could move on to something else. It could be something else to do with the Zany Zoo Book

I wrote the song. I'm done.
I did a book. I'm done. 
I record the song. I'm done. 

Simply: Done is when you say you're done.

According to the Cult Of Done Manifesto even failure equals done and the point of being done is not to be finished ... it's to be able to start something else.

This approach is helping me to keep motivated during my one hour an evening work time because everything I complete in that hour is now 'done'. This means I can move on to the next thing. It helps because previously I would be looking at everything as one enormous project thinking "This is hours and hours of work! This will never get done!" Then play Angry Birds and go to bed. But now I write a blog post and I'm just ... done. 

What can you do now that would let you say "I'm done."?

Tucker, if you want to do something ... you have to do something.

Last week I told you about my new book Going To The Zany Zoo. The book is finished and a proof copy is coming from the printer early in the week and if all goes well (which I'm anticipating) the book should be available for sale before next weekend. Then one of my projects will be done. Finally. 

I've been waiting for one of my projects to be completed for a long time. The problem is, the longer I waited the longer nothing happened. A person can't just sit around and wait for something to happen because all that happens is they get really good at waiting. I'm a spectacular idea person, if you need an idea for anything give me a call and I'll give you ten in a minute. I can't begin to tell you how to follow through on any of it though because I've spent my life thinking about ideas instead of acting on ideas. 

I've been listening to a few successful people talk about success lately. I've read The War Of Art, Seth Godin's Blog, Anything You Want and many other people who've had some success doing something they love. The one loud and overwhelming message that I pulled out of all of them is this:

If you want to do something ... you have to do something.

Taking that to heart I spent last month completing my kid's book. One hour at a time before bed and now I'm done. Can this approach be maintained? I'll let you know because the only way to find out is for me to do it.