Challenge Update!

Last week, we gave you a challenge: spend one intentional hour on a creative project that you’ve been putting off.

And that challenge was just as much for me as it was for all of you, so I thought I’d pop in with an update.

My goal was to spend one hour recording parts for the NTVTY record that I’ve been putting off for over four years. Seems pretty easy, right?

Full disclosure: I didn’t do it until today, when I realized that the deadline was rapidly approaching.

I had completely intended to do it on Monday, which is Michelle and my day off. But I didn’t make an intentional plan to make it happen. I did however restring my acoustic guitar on Sunday night to make it easier on myself, so I should get credit there, right?

But when Monday came around, I let myself get distracted by other things. I spent a couple hours trying to rewire the stereo in my van to work with the rear speakers. Then, I watched some TV and played video games. By the time I remembered that I wanted to record, it was already too late. 

Tuesday came around, and I had other work to do, so I felt like I didn’t have the hour to give it. Wednesday, same thing.

But Thursdays, I don’t work until the afternoon. I realized that this was the last day for the challenge, so I took an hour out of my morning, went into my practice room, and set a timer.

Here’s how it played out.

Setting up to record—the huge obstacle that has stood in my way every time I think about recording—took me five minutes. Five minutes. Five minutes, and everything was mic’d, plugged in, and leveled. I was ready to hit record after only five minutes. You better believe I’ll be remembering that next time I try to hit that excuse.

Then, I spent another two minutes setting up inputs on the computer and setting the tempo. 

Then, it was recording time. I recorded a take of the guitar part—four minutes. I messed up in one spot, so I spent thirty seconds to go back and fix that. Then I spent another four minutes recording a second part. 

Barely twenty minutes into my hour, and I had already gotten two guitar tracks onto tape. I figured that forty minutes was enough to come up with a cool synth part, so I started messing around with different sounds and parts until I found something I liked. Once I got something, I recorded a couple more takes, thinking that was my time. 

I looked at my timer: I still had nine minutes. Definitely enough time to record a vocal take.  

Now, all that’s left is to write some electric guitar parts to put over the acoustic tracks, record a few harmony parts, and the song is ready for mixing. 

One hour, and a song is half finished.

My biggest takeaway is this: never underestimate the power of one intentional hour. If I were to do this two times a week, my record would be finished in a couple months—with time that I would have otherwise spent scrolling through Reddit or rewatching The Office. 

What about you guys? How did your challenges play out? We’d love to hear what you accomplished—or what struggles kept you from finishing. 

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