Category Archives: Creative Process

Improve Your Songwriting in Three Steps

Cream of Crop stage Thomasville GA

Photo of stage at Cream of the Crop/Thomasville, GA. (Indie Art South)

Jen Day Thompson

Jen Day Thompson

Independent musicians earning weekly paychecks playing in bars know their fair share of cover songs. More and more, indie artists are learning about the revenue opportunities for original music through streaming services like Spotify.

Original music can take a musician’s business and brand to the next level. It’s not always easy to translate the creative musings in our minds to lyrics and melody, but here are three ways to start improving your songwriting right now. Continue reading

Brain freeze? Here are five ways to get inspired

Rainbow photo; Indie Art South

Rainbow photo; Indie Art South

Jen Day Thompson

Jen Day Thompson

As an independent artist, new material is what breathes life into your business. Whether you’re a visual artist, musician or writer, keeping your audience engaged by creating content is possibly the most important rule of success.

Maybe it’s the chaos of day to day life that hampers your creativity, or maybe the pressure to make something beautiful is limiting your efforts. Writers’ block doesn’t just happen to writers, and most artists have encountered some form of it.

As an independent musician taking care of a family and home while trying to contribute to our brand and business, I sometimes find myself at a loss for words. When my mind is focused day in and day out on keeping a toddler on a schedule, keeping applesauce and markers off of walls and having dinner on the table by 7 PM, there is little space left for my thoughts to wander to creative places.

Here are five ways I get back on track and get inspired. I hope they help you find your spark!  Continue reading

Take heart, indie artists: As Irma approaches, ‘happy’ music may aid coping

rainbow before Irma

As Hurricane Irma churned towards Florida, a brief rain delivered another rainbow. (Photo IAS)

It’s almost impossible to think creatively right now because those of us who live in Florida are facing a very angry Irma rolling her way towards the south end of the Sunshine State. As I multi-tasked this morning in an attempt to get things squared away, I came across an interesting article related to my current quandary.  Continue reading

Booked and ready to gig, but short on creative time?


Rainbow after the storm; photo IAS.

If you do music fulltime, you already have an idea of the challenges. Unless you have a team of helpers, you’re where the buck stops.

You do the promoting. And the booking. And the contract bids. And equipment maintenance. Press inquiries. Booking agency contacts. Taxes. Practices, and whatever else demands attention.

Amid all that, where is the creative time?  Continue reading

Eclipse 2017 didn’t quite go as planned here

eclipse NASA Danielson

NASA eclipse image by Arne Danielson

Yesterday, at 1:34 p.m. here in the southeastern sector of Jacksonville, I got to see something remarkable. The sun was directly overhead. As I viewed it through my special glasses, that big orange orb looked like a mouse had nibbled at the upper right quadrant. By 1:49, the bite got bigger. Then things went south.  Continue reading

Should there be an aesthetic standard for country music duos?

Johnny Cash with June Carter Cash 1969

Johnny Cash with June Carter Cash by Joel Baldwin, 1969. US Library of Congress; gift from Cowles Communications (Look Magazine)

I enjoy reading at the site Saving Country Music, and I came across an article today that set me thinking. The article is about a couple who make music together, and the writer opined:

“Somewhere, the spirit of the country music duo got lost. This isn’t just about the conjoining of two voices. It’s about the mixing of two perspectives on the same theme, telling a story from two angles, making the yearning in the heart that much more aching by adding two sob stories, or uplifting joy that is magnified that much more because it’s shared with someone else.”

This sounded reasonable to me at first, but the more I thought about it, the more I questioned it. Continue reading

Update: Eclipse-mania sweeps US with ‘cosmic cocktails’ and sold-out hotels

Photo credit Romeo Durscher (NASA Images)

Photo credit Romeo Durscher (NASA Images)

I wrote a previous column about all the fanfare related to the upcoming August 21 total solar eclipse. Now it seems everywhere I look on social media, people are talking about this eclipse.  Continue reading

Indie thriller ‘Kill Club’ a great summer read set in iconic city

author David Jack Smith

Author David Jack Smith (photo used with permission)

'Kill Club' novel cover

‘Kill Club’ cover art used with permission.

In between books I read for research—mostly history—I like to read fiction that takes my mind off the real world. I came across Kill Club by David Jack Smith, and it proved a perfect fit for my late afternoon coffee reading time on the deck. A mystery-thriller, the book would lend itself well to film.

The book opens with a kill, with the novelist placing the reader in the mind of the murderer. The catch is we don’t know the identity of the murderer, and this sets up a guessing game for the reader as the plot unfolds. Continue reading