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It’s true that writers should write every day. But what if you are also a musician, like I am? Is it better to practice music one day and write the next day? Should I try to cram both things into a day also filled with a day job, exercise, the Yale Brothers Podcast, music gigs, reading and other pursuits?

I have tried both approaches, and I am beginning to realize that my writing and my music would be better served if I practiced only one of these things per day.

Of course, if I were to eliminate my day job I would have ample time to pursue both disciplines on a daily basis – but I also like to pay my bills.

Most people enjoy ticking off items on their to-do lists, but how far should a person go with this? I mean, it would be ridiculous to include bodily functions on that list, no matter how gratifying it would be to put a bold line through those activities with a Sharpie.

Can there be any deep work if you only write for 30 minutes a day? Is there a level of mastery to be attained by sitting at the piano for the same?

I suppose we take what we can get, but I am sure that devoting the proper time and attention to one of these disciplines per day will set the table for a more profound experience.

Am I wrong? I know there are plenty of you who have multiple passions.

Thanks to the march of technology, on-demand media, incessant notifications and myriad distractions, we have become fragmented. Our attention is divided at all turns and we have trouble being still, living “in the moment” – and achieving the coveted sense of flow.

Without the opportunity to drill down, the time to allow thoughts and processes to become fully formed, we find ourselves trapped in a self-imposed prison of superficiality and mediocrity.

Lukewarm gets spit out.

My Scribbles

An item I have had on my master list for far too long is one called “notebook review.”

I keep a journal also, and try to make at least one entry a week, usually on Sundays when I am planning the coming week. But my notebooks are separate from the journal.

I also maintain and contribute to an “editorial bible” – basically an ongoing log in Word of anything that strikes me as a story idea, a suitable blog post, song idea or potential action item.

A lot of them suck, but still.

The “notebook review” idea is this: Flip through my old notebooks in an orderly fashion. If something jumps out at me, I will then expand on these things or flag them for action in my current notebook. Some of these items would then go into the “master list,” others would get fleshed out in the editorial bible – or as talking points for my podcast with my brother.

There are song idea fragments all over the place, too.

I remember once listening to filmmaker Robert Rodriguez the Tim Ferriss Show podcast – talking about his compulsive notetaking and  his methodical way of indexing them for easy retrieval. While I’m not ready for such an arduous process of organization, I know that there is potential “gold in them hills.”

I believe that my plan of carrying forward the worthy items is a good way to eliminate the dross and revisit the good stuff.

Although I love the idea of things like Evernote, OneNote, Dropbox, et. al., I am still somewhere in that anteroom between paper/pen and technology.

The tactile response to scribbling – and that hand-to-eye-to-brain connection – is hard to quit.