How Silicon Valley Prepared Me for Book and Music Production

Reading It’s All About Him, written by Alan Jackson’s wife, Denise, I’m thinking how when I heard “Here in the Real World,” back in 1992, working in book production at a Silicon Valley high-tech firm, I thought he’d really made it. But when the song came out in 1990, he was far from making it at all. Living in a tiny basement apartment in Nashville with a pregnant wife, “Here in the Real World” was the second song his label had released and it was unclear whether they would keep him or drop him.

I started thinking about how successful I felt in Silicon Valley when I moved into technical writing, earning writing and publishing awards from the “Society of Technical Publications.” I sometimes say I got my PhD in that world, and, for the most part, it was a really awesome fit for me: the companies I worked for, the people I worked with (eventually marrying one of my co-workers), and the opportunities it brought me.

I would later grow wearing of that stressful, high-pressure day-to-day life, Las Vegas became my relaxing getaway, wondering what it would be like to be a cocktail waitress – lol! Eventually, my heart would start leading me to more creative pursuits.

I began writing fiction, starting with short stories as part of the well-known  “The Writer’s Loft” program in Chicago. I moved into fiction and by the time I wrote my third novel, Real Women Wear Red, at the height of the Chick Lit boom, I got an agent, and was offered a publishing contract.

Long story short, when the Indie author movement started going strong, I was able to use my book production skills to publish as an Indie author. I’ve done better as an Indie than I did when I was with publishers, certainly, the smaller publishers.

But then that market became oversaturated and I kept dreaming of my first love, music. In my youth, I didn’t pursue music as an artist because I knew you had to be spectacular to make it and while I’d sung a bit here and there, I wasn’t spectacular by a long shot. And I didn’t know of any other music path, at least not one I was interested in.

Fast forward to today with the ability to produce your own music in your own studio. Now I see that those same book production skills (with a propensity toward software) I learned in Silicon Valley help me now with continuing to learn new music production skills.

Push2 is the latest instrument I’m learning and with that and my Novation Launchkey keyboard, I’m hoping to advance more in more in creating my own melodies, instead of relying on loops and samples. Recently, a collab partner from FAWM told me he wants to release one of our songs commercially, but the melody was not copyright free so we could not use it. Between his piano skills and my production skills, I think we’ve come up with something we can use instead.

I have no idea where music will take me, even if it’s just the thrill of making it for myself, but I’m excited when I think about how far I’ve come from Silicon Valley production editor to producing my own music.

 

How To Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy (#BookReviews)

“Read Like an Artist,” this week’s topic for Austin Kleon‘s weekly newsletter, mentions his new book club. And the first book in this book club is How To Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy. That grabbed my attention immediately.

I started reading the sample and then proceeded to deactivate Twitter one more time. Yes, I’d reactivated about a week or so ago. Big mistake! Now I start the 30-day countdown all over again. Here’s hoping I make it this time.

The thing with Twitter is it can be fun, but too often it disappoints. People ignore you or don’t reciprocate when you outwardly support them. Those are the good days. And then you realize Twitter exists just to create chaos and war. After the last 14 months, I don’t need another war right now. So this book came at just the right time.

And now I’m going to do absolutely nothing, except purchase this book and enjoy the day reading.

Have a great weekend!

Life is a Series of Naps, Ghost Writers, and Such (#BookReviews)

My life at home these days seems to be a series of naps. I often wake up somewhere in the 1 to 4 am range, maybe because I’ve slept from 1 or 2 to 3 or 4 pm. During that middle-of-the-night awakening, I grab my smart phone and open up my Kindle app to read or write a poem or both.

The book I’m reading now is called Lost and Found in Italy: True stories that prove your ‘Nuova Vita’ awaits you on the other side of your breaking point .

It’s intriguing, no doubt, at least to me, but the writing style is really starting to bug me. It feels unnatural. It reminds me of a similar book I read (or almost read because I couldn’t read the whole thing – at least, not yet) called The Latin Hit Maker: My Journey From Cuban Refugee to World-Renowned Record Producer and Songwriter.

The writing style in both books is very similar and unnatural. At least to me. The voice feels identical as if the same person wrote both books. I know that ghostwriters are quite popular these days (I interviewed for a romance ghost writing position but they wanted me to work 7 days a week with such a high word count quote paid in pennies that I turned them down).

Bummer! I was really into both stories, but struggling with how the stories are being told. Is it me or is it them?

#DeleteTwitter Countdown: April 30, 2021

Two days ago I deleted my Twitter account again. As a member since 2007, it’s been hard for me to pull the final plug and allow it to expire in 30 days, which is how you delete Twitter. Actually, you deactivate and 30 days later, if you don’t log in, your account is deleted. I’ve never made it that far.

I logged in the day after, reactivating my account, thinking nobody would read this blog if I didn’t post it to Twitter. And then I deactivated it again after reading the first chapter of Stillness is the Key (another book recommendation from Roni Loren).

It’s not that his thoughts are all completely new to me or that I need Buddha to be told these things. No, not at all. But, in addition to presenting new thoughts, it also validates and is a reminder of what I already know. That’s often true for me and probably for you, too. You just have to allow yourself time to think and tune out all the noise out there.

I like the idea that by June 1st, to round things off, I could be Twitter-free.