I’ve spent most of the past month revising the metadata of my sound libraries. I’ve noticed that after completing each one, I get some mixed feelings. There’s equal parts satisfaction and exhaustion, and a little bit of frustration as nothing I finish ever feels truly complete.
I always think I could add more, I could tweak more, but I realistically have to stop at some point.
How do you feel after completing a sound library?
I personally align with a lot of Tim’s perspective. My immediate feeling is a feeling of joy for overcoming a large amount of work that was taxing in many different ways over the course of the project. Finishing any project (whether it’s a major edit delivery or a wrap on production, etc…) will bring a similar feeling for me. A bit of a feeling of relief can come with that too, depending on how stressful the project was (short turnaround, etc…).
Soon after, I get a rush of creative ideas because I want to create a new thing, embark on a new path! Perhaps chase an idea I had during my last project, etc…
There’s always going to be that feeling of “i could have done more if I had more time.” You just need to learn to direct that energy into a useful creative fuel. You never truly “finish” a project, you just run out of time. But that’s one of the beautiful things about the creative fields; you do your best within whatever the constraints of the project (time, budget, etc…) are and then move on. That’s part of what shapes your creative decisions. Deliver with confidence, learn from your shortcomings, and funnel that creative energy into your next project. That’s how you evolve. What you’ve done is done – you can’t change it. Look forward and make those improvements on your next endeavor.
I am not nearly the level as these guys but it I will weigh in as a newbie. I have recently release my first sound library, “Household Fans”.
I felt the library was incomplete as I kept recording and editing more and more fans. In total – there are about 10 fans and foley sounds in the sound library. I could have kept recording 5, 10, or 100 more fans but I knew I needed a reasonable point and goal.
I’ve read Paul’s books and blog posts about creating sound libraries, sharing sounds, metadata and so on, but even with all the learning the process is both a little daunting and exhausting.
When I released it, I felt freed plus very excited since it was my first library, but I am even feel more excited to start recording again to create another!
That’s an interesting question. I can identify with the satisfaction and exhaustion. When I release a library, I’m also excited about the idea that what I created could help some express their creativity. That’s probably the dominant feeling since most of the work is behind me.
I also understand your point about always wanting to add something more. I always admired what Seth Godin had to say about this. First, he advocates to “just publish”. He wrote about it in terms of writing, but the idea still applies: it is better to release a slightly imperfect creation than to wait until an idea of perfection is achieved. The reason is that releasing anything is usually the largest amount of effort required. Afterwards, other tasks (such as revision) are nearly effortless in comparison. This is especially true for one’s own sound library. I produced my first on PayLoadz back in 2006. That felt like a lot of effort. Now that that’s behind me, producing and revising are much more rapid.
In what may be a slightly contrasting point, he suggests producing only your best work. I don’t think this means it has to be perfect. However, it means to be relentless with your self critique, and not settle for less. Ernest Hemingway called this the “bullshit detector”. The idea that both Godin and Hemingway have is that you know – in your gut – whether something is quality, or you are trying to pass off something mediocre for excellence. A easy way to answer this question is to listen to every sound file and ask yourself if it impresses you. Ensure that you’re putting out the very best you can do and don’t put out anything even slightly mediocre. If you’ve done that, you’re golden.
It’s a fine line between choosing to put out your best and “just publishing” however I do believe they can be achieved.
The best thing is that digital projects can be revised painlessly. I’ve uploaded maybe 3 updated versions of my libraries with fresh enhancements. So that’s an option as well.
I think the question could be applied to any major project: for me the feeling after spending many months working on a project (sound library, film soundtrack, music project etc) and then finishing it is one of elation, having overcome all the hurdles and persevered to produce something you can be proud of… but thats just the immediate reaction.
The more powerful & profound feeling that comes is one of creative excitement, as I always get a huge rush of new ideas immediately after finishing a project. All of the other ideas & projects that I have had to put aside while I finish the main project suddenly re-appear, but in a new light. My psyche is free of the endless to do-list associated with the main project, and that space is now available to free associate new ideas… and that is the best feeling in the world! Having observed it many times now, it is something I look forward to and plan for eg after a big sleep, putting myself in places or situations that are particularly conducive to being creative… Got a huge one coming up, can’t wait!
All I can tell you is that after over 100 libraries over the course of 15 years, they will never feel totally completed. I look at it this way: It’s just a snapshot in time. It is what it is. I learned this from my days as a music recording mixer. At some point you have to get the “mix” done and move on. Plus, there’s always the next one that needs to get done. So I just do the best I can and move on to the next and grow. Hope this helps. -Frank