November 25, 2020
In this exclusive excerpt from the Wilco frontman’s irreverent new book of creative prompts, he finds inspiration is overrated
I happen to love deadlines. Not everyone does. I do, because they fit with my belief that art isn’t ever really complete. As the saying goes: “No work of art is ever finished; it can only be abandoned in an interesting place.” At this point in my life, I write with such regularity that being given a deadline (for example, an exact date when an album needs to be delivered to the mastering lab) is basically a “pencils down” alarm bell that allows me to stop making up new songs and to spend some time whipping an LP’s worth of tunes into shape. Maybe that’s not the level of commitment we’re shooting for here, at least not yet, since we are focused on just one song. At any rate, we’re going to have to unlock what motivates you to get started. Knowing how to write a song isn’t going to help you much if you never find the inspiration or discipline to get started.