I sat down again last night to try and work on some new music. Once again, the result was the same: I felt like I just don’t “have it” anymore. Whatever “it” is. Not only was nothing much usable coming out of it, I wasn’t enjoying doing it either. Which is very unusual for me, as I have always been about process and not product. It’s always been about the act of creating, not the final song that I end up with. (Which usually is, quite frankly, nothing special. I’m a mediocre songwriter at best.)
Part of me just wants to walk away and say “Okay, I’m done with this now.” and call it a retirement. If I’m finding no joy from either the process or the product any more, why bother? But I sense it’s the specific techniques I’m using that’s the issue, not the creative flow in general. There’s just no passion left in me for sitting in front of a computer screen and clicking out patterns with a mouse. While it was once exciting and fun to be able to sit there and rapidly make music out of nothing like that, it’s come to feel mostly empty and soulless at this point.
So, I think the better course of action is to tear down the process I’m using and re-build it from the ground up. Finish setting up my studio so that I’ve got a actual keyboard (the synthesizer kind, not the computer kind) and other physical controllers (including my guitars) to actually perform (albeit still into a sequencer where it will be tweaked and edited) music using actual instruments. Get back to that more visceral, physical method of composition and performance.
If that doesn’t work? Well, maybe it is time to retire and walk away.