Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Day 27 - Idealism, realism, and sheer bloody-mindedism

Sometimes, you commit to something, and you think that you have plenty of time.
And then you realise that you really don't.

You have a few options.
  1. Cancel the project
  2. Postpone the project
  3. Bluff
Now I'm allergic to 1. I just don't like admitting defeat, and I prefer to make sure that the project happens one way or another. My default position tends to be 3, and I have had a lot of success in throwing projects together without sufficient lead-in time or rehearsal. But that only gets you so far, and if you want something to be as good as you imagine it can be, it's a shame to not deliver the project that you could deliver.

I think that a good approach is that if you feel that the project will be substantially better if you have more time, go for a postponement. Most times, it will be your project anyway, and the only person that you're really reporting to is you. Admittedly that can be a pretty scary person to report to, but you get used to it.

If you can see a way to make the project happen anyway, to a standard that you are happy with, then bluff your way through; improvise and make decisions on the hoof. I think that's a really good skill to have as an academic but also as an artist. Life frequently doesn't go to plan, and being able to make adjustments that deliver an uncompromised result without destroying your life will ensure that you can pull almost anything off.

I will also have to learn when it is appropriate to cancel, but I refuse to really engage with that at present.

I'm reflecting on this today, because I've realised that I have to be realistic about a deadline that I have looming. There's a concert coming up for which I have to write a piece (involving software that I don't know), organise performers, organise a competition (complete with panel), and organise some publicity. There is no way it will happen when it is planned to happen in the way that I want it to happen. I'm pretty sure I can finish a piece with which I'll be happy by the end of this month, and I'll be able to find people to play it, but getting others to write to the same schedule, finding players, organising a rehearsal schedule, and organising, advertising, and administering a competition is most likely beyond me.

So tomorrow I have to write a difficult email, because I have already postponed this concert once. I have to ask if we can hold it later in the year (but it has to be this year because of annoying things like the specific anniversary that this marks). I dislike having to show weakness in this way, but I also intend to send a plan of campaign with a schedule and timings for all the constituent elements that have to occur. This is useful for me, obviously, but also lets the other people involved know that I'm not going to let this happen again.

If another postponement isn't possible, I'm not sure what I will do. I'll have to improvise. As usual.

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