It has all happened to us.  We have composing to do, but we are in no mood to do it.

What to do when that happens?  

Rich has some ideas on why this can happen, and offers some solutions.


Hey guys welcome to session number 19 of the trailer music composers podcast.  Ding.


One with one microphone, most favourite actor of all time is Jim Carey.  

Welcome to the trailer music composers podcast.

Hey guys, welcome to another episode of the trailer music composers podcast.  Today I want to cover something which I probably already have to be honest with yuu, but I think it deserves, it deserves repeating yes.  And that is when you just can’t be bothered.  What to do when you can’t be bothered.  

Now the reason I’m doing this episode now and today is because you know what I had one of those days yesterday.  And it kind of made me sort of sit and think because I’ve got a bit of a reputation of having a big output, working not so many hours and outputting quite a lot of music. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t get those days.  And yes I know I could have ploughed on through that mood and that’s why I wanted to do this podcast today.  Because I think sometimes it’s really important to listen to yourself, sometimes it’s really important to be like you know what I can’t be bothered, I’m going to do something else.  And that’s really, really important.

And the reason it is is because you are listening to yourself because sometimes there’s levels of it, sometimes you can’t be bothered just because, you know it’s almost like the idle sort of 14 year old, huh can’t be bothered, which is almost based in insecurity, like I can’t be bothered because I’m scared I won;t do a very good job, which I talk about it in the inner critic podcast.

Sometimes there’s the I can’t be bothered, because I don’t really have any direction.  And maybe I should do a goal setting one because that’s a really important one.  And that’s a valuable note to take here.  If you can’t be bothered because you are directionless then you need to use that time to set yourself a direction, but I’m not going to do that one today.

I want to do today be kind to yourself, you can’t be bothered because you know what you’re just knackered.  And the reason I say about listening to yourself there is it comes back down to the inner critic again, because when you’re tired you tend to be more negative and more critical.  And more of that bully from school pops up, all those mean things that people have said to you over the years, they just suddenly magically appear in your mind, or maybe that’s just me.  Anyway you just can’t be bothered because you are knackered, you are exhausted.  You are wiped out. 

And I’m talking to myself yesterday and I made the mistake of trying to carry on, even though I knew that any work I produced would be shot down, or which is what happened open a project listen, open another project listen, open another project listen.  So it kind of fell into a couple of camps there.  I didn’t really have the direction yesterday, which was brought about by exhaustion.  And whatever brings about the exhaustion in your life whether it’s, I don’t need to list those things, there’s so many things aren’t there.  I think it’s really important to listen to yourself and be kind.  Richard, be kind to yourself.  And that’s one of the reasons I’ve started doing the podcast walking around in the woods.  Which admittedly means that sometimes it’s windy and you won’t hear me quite so well and the quality is not so great, but I don’t care, I love walking in the woods and it’s my time to be, I say alone, I do have my daughter asleep on me, she’s only what five months now.  But it’s just really noticed I’m being kind to myself.  I mean I could be more kind and just not do this and just walk and enjoy the woodland, but I like to do these podcasts, it feels nice, it feels reassuring.   

So, I want you to bear this in mind in the next few days, when you sit down to do your work, really listen to yourself, some of you might be sitting down and working and being yes this is awesome, I’m loving this.  And that’s great, you know that’s my place most of the time, but sometimes I get to this place which is the I’m exhausted, there’s a lot on my plate, I’m not getting as much sleep as I’d like, you know and I end up not producing anything and feeling like I’m wasting my time and beating myself up and you know obviously those critics are so often right.  

So what do you do in those situations?  And this comes down to again the inspiration thing, episode I have, and the book I have on inspiration as well which is like understanding that sometimes to do a thing you want you need to do something else.  Yesterday I should have taken this advice of my own and it’s very easy for me to say this now, because I’m taking my own advice right now. But I should have take the advice and been like you know what, you’re tired, do something else.  And you know I fall back on kind of a list of things that I can do that cheer me up, usually exercise or meditating.  Or watching some awesome TV show, that usually gets me excited and then wants to start me writing.  Which is the point of it.  So you want to have a list, it’s like your mini saviour list, your list of things to do when you can’t be bothered because you’re exhausted.

And to be quite honest with you, top of the list really should be napping.  But I just had a coffee so I didn’t think there was any point.  It was that kind of wired and tired moment.  So you go through this list, and I advocate this in my little book, I advocate this generally to myself unless I ignore myself, because I’m too excited and confused and tired, basically all sorts going on, basically my brain was going a million miles an hour and by body didn’t want to,

You have this list, and I should have gone to my list yesterday, should have had my nap but I didn’t, should have meditated but I didn’t, I would have gone to the gym, but I’d gone the night before and I felt like I should be working.  And that’s the danger, should that’s the naughty word.  I should be doing this, I should be doing that, should is a horrible, should is a mean word.  Keep saying should, it starts to sound like a swear word.  You should, you know.  

Get out of the world of shoulds and get into the world of what I can do differently, and I did that this morning, I woke up this morning and I was like right I’m going to learn from yesterday.  Yesterday I was tired at work and I ended up being mean about my existing work and not doing anything.  I did a couple of things, I replied to some emails, which I can’t exactly say makes me feel like I’ve achieved a lot, but this morning I was like what am I going to do?  I’m going to tidy up.  Because I knew that tidying would get me out of this place.  And I have to say it worked.  Because this morning I wouldn’t have thought to myself I was going to be doing a podcast today.  I wasn’t in that place where I would be free to talk without criticising myself.  I didn’t want to be in that place where I end up having to press top and re-recording it over and over again.  

Tidying, clearing the clutter, is just awesome, I’m not going to get all Marie Condo on you although that is an awesome show/book.  It’s just one tool I use to help me when I don’t feel like writing.  Because you don’t have to be writing all the time.  The beauty of what we do and I have to remind myself of this all the time, I don’t have to be writing all the time. 

I mean like I said i got some trailers recently and one of them was from an album I released, Elephant Music released, oh blimey five years ago, six years ago.  It’s been a long time now, and I’m still getting work from that.  And that paid a really decent amount of money, that was like five figures.  You know awesome. Great news.  I don’t need to work all the time because my back catalogue and the publisher, thank you Vic, and all the people at Elephant and Mammoth thank you for working for me.  And that’s why they take their cut, because whilst we’re not writing they are working.  

And that’s why it’s important to get into the habit of being kind to yourself, of making time for yourself.  I know this is slightly turning into more sort of lifestyle podcast isn’t really, but I think it’s really important, nobody teaches you this stuff.  Well maybe they taught you I don’t know, nobody taught me this stuff of being creative.  Everyone was like yeah follow your dream, will not everyone, my mum.  And my wife.  Yeah, follow your dream, so what you want.  When you get to the point where you are doing what you want, and you’re following your dreams and you’re successful and then you go, wait but I still have down words and I still have up days and life still gets in the way and I still feel overwhelmed by washing and all that stuff.  So it’s so important that you have the tools available to you to make your life feel balanced.  

And this comes back to the episode on success as well you know.  I think a successful life is a balanced life.  Little bit of everything, a lovely pick and mix of delights you know.  I don’t want a life where I’m writing music all the time, I don’t want a life where I’m not writing music all the time.  I want a life where I’m doing lots of things I enjoy and I forget to take advantage of the main advantage of being a freelance composer. And that is you can work whenever you want, wherever you want.  However much you want.  You don’t have to work today.  

And of course I’m not advocating you say that everyday, I’m advocating using that as part of your balanced lifestyle whilst eating bran flakes and Ryvita.  I’m saying like, like I said I’m talking to myself here as well, you know I’m not standing in an ivory tower going you guys suck and I am awesome, I’m saying hey you know what guys even when you’re doing the thing that you wanted to do for ages life can be hard too sometimes and even if that comes in the form of having just like a down day.  Have a down day guys take some time to chill out, go spend the time with your family, have a nap, go to the gym, mediate, go have an energy healing, whatever it is, go bungee jump, go draw some moss, I’m going to start doing things I like now, go build a stone castle out of flat stones from the beach, go surfing.  Make sure that you always put time aside for those things. Because also that will keep your vibration, your energy levels up, which will feed back into your music.

And that’s what I did today, I was like yeah, you know what, I’m not going to work. I’m going to do other things that support my mood so that I’m better to work next time.  Admittedly I’m working now but because I tidied my study this morning, I tidied my study, admittedly he, he, and an iPad Pro arrived in the post, which is pretty exciting.  You know they all helped me get out of the funk.  And I wanted to share that with you that you need, and I need to make sure that you don’t overwork yourself and that you give yourself a break from music, because sometimes there’s only so many horror tracks you can listen to.  There’s only so many times you can listen to your backend, I know there’s only so many times you can listen to your huge third, fourth act, whatever it is that you call it.

So have some time off, have a break, have a Kit Kat, whatever it is, take some time guys for yourself, and that’s you included Rich.

Now if you already knew all this stuff and your like oh give me some hard facts about mixing Rich, you’re probably in the wrong place because I’m not going to do that here, might do that on my YouTube channel; but I’m not going to do it here, I guess there’s more like the life and times of trailer music composers. So go and write a list of everything that you enjoy other than trailer music, go write a list of all the things that lead you up that you can do when you don’t feel like a ring.  And I need to remind myself this too that when you do those things it feeds back in your writing and you come back a better composer, a well-rested composer.  You know you read any productivity books, anything in your output and quality of your output in that, and I’m talking physical and mental output.  The first thing is sleep. And rest.  If you’re not getting those you’re not going to work as well as you should do.  So I say to myself a bit, go grab a pen and paper, have a brainstorm then go have a nap. 

Thanks for taking the time to listen to the podcast guide, I hope you got something out of it even if was the ability to have a nap while you listen to this.  Which would be a bonus actually.  

Anyway guys see you in the next episode and thanks again.  Awesome.