I’m writing a Cantata. I have 330 days left.
Thanks to the efforts of Jimm Rennie, I’ve been able to get a sort of outline in place, and I have two major melodic ideas I’d like to develop further.
The problem now arises that I’d rather like to get started with the writing. I’m too eager to get Sibelius open on my ageing mac and start already.
The seasoned professional would recognise this false start pitfall all too easily – I need some structure and sense of narrative flow before I can get down to actual dots on digital paper. So, what to do? I have a big pad of A2 plain paper which I use for planning, but that’s either going to be not big enough for the detail or way too big for the overview.
For the first time in my life I’m trying to use a computer to keep tabs on the planning stages, and I’m having no luck whatsoever.
I use Evernote to keep track of my brewing but it lacks the linkable-ness (new word) of my pad of paper. I can draw lines across between the smallest details on a pad and make the link clear. I can’t get used to Evernote and doing that, and I fear it’s me that’s at fault. You see, I just don’t want to have to learn how to use the software to be able to get the most out of it. I spent years with Word and Excel and every time I’m just about good with it, Microsoft changes the format and removes half of my obscure but oft-used keyboard shortcuts.
I hate the way different web services want me to separate tags with commas or semicolons but not both, and ditto e-mail interfaces. Microsoft uses semicolons to separate addresses, but if I type from the address book, space is enough for it to insert one for me. I don’t need that level of support just yet, I’m in my prime and perfectly capable of adding my own punctuation.
Sibelius doesn’t help, because all its useful keys only work on a keyboard with a numeric keypad attached, and my wireless mac keyboard is starting to age worse than the mac itself. The new ones don’t have a keypad, that’s an added extra. This stipulation in Sibelius means I can’t very well install it on my laptop unless I want to get a USB keypad for that as well. It’s either that or do things longhand because I lack keyboard functionality.
And to top it all off, pencils are easy to erase when you intend to. Anything on a computer is too easy to erase completely by accident. “Are you sure you’d rather not delete this? Y/N”
So before the structure, punctuation, flow and scale of my Cantata can develop, really it’s time I spent some time finding tools which can help me, and learn theirs. That, or the biggest pad of paper Staples can provide…