Combining Fiddling and Writing: Finding Motivation with My Latest Strategy

2019 is turning out to be my year for finding new strategies. How can I keep content coming your way at a fairly consistent rate without going completely into overdrive? How do I balance a full time job with pursuing my dream goals? How do I fuel my passion for writing AND playing the fiddle without burning out by the end of the day? Where does my motivation lie, and how am I going to prioritize that?

I ran into this problem during the second half of last year, where I was being really hard on myself for not being creative enough. Yet I was also just trying to hang in there, get enough sleep, eat well, and give myself that down time I needed to recuperate. That part worked to some extent, but I went to sleep most nights feeling discouraged that I wasn’t doing enough. However, I’m now happy to say that in the past month or so I’ve learned to take baby steps, and be proud of where each one takes me. I’ve started re-prioritizing writing and working on growing my music. I’ve figured out how to recognize when I’m making excuses to myself and letting fear of success stand in my way — but that’s a subject that could take up at least three more blog posts. Let me tell you why I’m sharing this murkier part of my journey with y’all.

About two weeks ago I wrote down a bunch of different ideas of things I care enough about to write on and share with you, my audience. And y’all, there’s a LOT of stuff I could (and will) ramble on to you about. However, one of those ideas just happened to involve Youtube. Several years ago, I did a five part beginner fiddle tip teaching series, and I’ve added on a couple videos here and there — but I’m just starting to realize what a great barely tapped resource it is for spreading my musical message! So I decided that I need to be putting more videos out there. At this point, it’s just me and my tripod sitting in the den of my rental house, but I believe in working with what I have to get to the point where I want to be.

Video One of Three: 2 McFadden Reels!

I usually try to keep at least one video in my “Top 9” posts on Instagram, so that anyone doing a quick scan of my page can easily access an example of my playing. I intend to continue that in a similar vein, but this year I’m adding something a bit new to my practice/writing routine! Each month, I will record 2-3 sets of tunes, and post them up on my Youtube channel. I mentioned that I already have a few videos geared toward beginners. While this is something I want to continue to create, I also don’t want to ignore the rest of you who don’t need these tips! So, these tunes are meant for fiddle players (or traditional Irish musicians in general) of all levels as a resource for tune and technique inspiration in addition to showcasing what I do. Or if you are just an awesome person who likes to listen to fiddle music, I hope they give you some nice ear candy!

Video 2 0f 3: Set of Jigs from one of my December gigs!

I will likely be drawing on tunes that I find cropping up in almost each one of my individual practice sessions throughout the month, but I also welcome your requests! Feel free to make them challenging — it’ll help my technique and my self discipline! You’ll get credit in the videos unless you prefer to remain anonymous. Since this month is just the start, I went ahead and picked out the tunes for January: reels, jigs and polkas! In future posts, I will talk more about the tunes and the backstory behind why I picked them — although there is a bit of that at the beginning of each video. I hope you enjoy this new idea, and if you have a Youtube account and want to stay in the loop when I post new videos, please do give my channel a follow! Thank you for reading (and listening)!

Video 3 of 3: Polkas… surprise!

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