Ok, ok, he didn’t only speak to me; he spoke to everyone. And…ok, it wasn’t a dream, it was a netflix documentary (The History of the Eagles). But it felt like a dream. That’s gotta count for something, right? And it was truly profound, as if his words were meant just for for me, and this blog. Why? He was being interviewed about the process of writing, and how he–Glenn friggin Frey–learned to do it.
Now, I’ll just go ahead and say this up front: I’m a huge Eagles fan. And in my opinion, Glenn Frey and Don Henley are among the absolute masters. Right up there with guys like Johnny Cash. And so, when I get a chance to hear from a true master of their craft, I’m all ears. Especially when he starts like this:
I didn’t really know how to write songs. I knew I wanted to write songs, but I didn’t know [how] exactly, did you just wait around for inspiration, you know, what was the deal?
Ok, now I’m hooked. I feel exactly the same way…about blog-ging! (See! I told you this was going to be good!). Glenn friggin Frey baby. Yes! So Glen, how do you really, really, truly, write a song? What great secret will you reveal about writing?
Ready? Listen to the master speak. Here’s what it takes:
Elbow grease. Time. Thought. Persistence.
Elbow grease? Time?! Whoa…mind-explosion!
But then, that lingering little issue of quality remains. What if, after all of my elbow grease, after all of my time, my writing is still…bad? Fear not young grasshopper, Jedi Frey speaks to this issue as well, passing on the same wisdom that he himself had once received (from Bob Seger, no less):
Frey: What if [my songs, are] bad?
Seger: Well, they are going to be bad. But, you just keep writing and keep writing and eventually, you’ll write a good song.”
But seriously, that is so good, at so many levels. For one thing, what perfect advice from Seger! I find it so amazing that these were the very words that encouraged Frey to start writing. What if he hadn’t started? What if he had been prevented by the concern that his writing might be…bad? That is so crazy (I can hardly put the words ‘Frey’ and ‘bad’ in the same sentence)!
But then at another level, there is something here that is of a deep, personal encouragement to me. Now, hear me out. I am not for a second thinking that I might be the next great writer. The fact that Frey turned out to be Frey is pretty awesome, but it is not what encourages me. Rather, I’m helped by the sage wisdom that he took on board. I love the advice that Seger gave because it uses the negative force of Frey’s concern against itself. A mental jujitsu move, if you will. A move that defeated the opponent. It allowed Frey to press on, in spite of his deep concern. I feel like it does the same thing for me, with immediate effect. What if my writing is bad? Oh, haha, yes…you don’t know the half of it. It will definitely be bad, real bad. But, here’s the solution. Keep writing the bad stuff (!)…until you eventually write one thing that is…good.
So beautiful. So sober. Thank you Bob. Thank you Glen. I’m taking this to heart. So, here’s the roundup then. My ten thousand hours begin now. The goal: a year of blogging, no matter what, no matter how bad.