Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Best Laid Schemes o' Mice and Men Gang Aft Agley

This week saw the celebration of the Scottish poet Robert Burns' birthday and this famous quote from his poem proved apt. The farmer poet on turning a mouse's nest over in the field fell to contemplating the similarity between a humble mouse's strivings and preparations with those of man, and saw that they had much in common as they are often knocked off course by the unexpected. Many proverbs have their origins in the days when most people gained a living from the plough. The observations they made and the wisdom distilled from them still guide their descendants -- us -- today.

The 2008 project to take a song to success was to be launched this week but has been delayed. Always at it wins the day is good for keeping you going but it is prudent to remember: Make haste slowly.

The need to register the copyrights at The US Library of Congress meant the manuscripts had to be notated. This took longer than expected, with the haste and attention to detail resulting in a migraine. This raises the very important topic that when using proverbs as a guide they must be used with judgement. It is not wise to follow blindly: A danger foreseen is half avoided.

However, Rome wasn't built in a day and it is best to do things right as: Well begun is half done. Next week should see some action. No doubt I will be tempted to start another project once this is launched but it is important to remember that: He who runs after two hares catches neither.

Robert Burns - To a Mouse

...But Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy !

Still thou art blest, compar'd wi' me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But och! I backward cast my e'e,
On prospects drear!
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Proverb Practitioner 2

Last week the challenge to use the wisdom of proverbs to guide a project settled on taking a song to success using a video on YouTube to bring it to public attention.

So what is the next step? How can proverbs help? Having put my foot down where I mean to stand and remembering that Zeal is like fire, it needs feeding and watching it seems wise to proceed without delay. Strike whilst the iron is hot but Look before you leap.

A little forethought saves much afterthought. The idea has expanded to include a collection of demos in a software wrapper where users can choose songs they like or dislike and be their own Artists and Repertoire people. The job of an A&R rep is to listen to all the demos wannabes send in but, rather than send out CD's to many companies, this way lets the public be their own A & R guy.

Don't look a gift horse in the mouth. With a free copy (unfortunately the offer expired on Jan 7th) of Camtasia I put together a video of the first song: "More Generous with Love" and an explanation of how the software works.

The video invites viewers to visit a web page where they can download the software: Artists & Repertoire. It contains seven songs in different styles with male and female artists. Service without reward is punishment so a small charge has been made to ensure only seriously interested people will listen and, hopefully, provide a cash flow to fund other projects. Pleasing ware is half sold, so lets hope it meets with approval.

The video isn't brilliant but You must crawl before you can walk . This might seem like A bad workman blames his tools, however, Better a flawed diamond than a perfect pebble and anyway, Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and Better an ass that carries than a horse that throws.

All going well, the video will be released next week.

I'm evaluating a multi-media course on blogging from the folks at Simpleology. For a while, they're letting you snag it for free if you post about it on your blog.

It covers:

  • The best blogging techniques.
  • How to get traffic to your blog.
  • How to turn your blog into money.

I'll let you know what I think once I've had a chance to check it out. Meanwhile, go grab yours while it's still free.

I have looked this gift horse in the mouth and its seems a good opportunity to learn more about blogging for those of you who would like to start your own. It is a fifteen day course of short videos and if you are a beginner with limited time it could be very useful as it is simple and clearly presented. Being a glutton for info, and already knowing a good bit of it, I went through it in an hour or so and picked up a few good tips. Well worth a look.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Always at it Wins the Day

The road to success is usually long and winding but you will not get to the end without keeping going. Regular steady progress is often better than occasional bursts of effort when the mood takes you.

I'm evaluating a multi-media course on blogging from the folks at Simpleology. For a while, they're letting you snag it for free if you post about it on your blog.

It covers:

  • The best blogging techniques.
  • How to get traffic to your blog.
  • How to turn your blog into money.

I'll let you know what I think once I've had a chance to check it out. Meanwhile, go grab yours while it's still free.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Last week in the blog entry Small beginnings make great endings we discussed the idea of using proverbial wisdom to guide a project. Today it is time to consider: what, why, when, where and how?

The longest journey begins with the first step, but if you wanted to climb Mount Everest you wouldn't just take a deep breath and charge up. It takes long and careful planning, training, acclimatisation, setting up of base camps and proceeding in careful stages.

Where there's a will there's a way, but above all is the determination to get to the top and the confidence in your ability to do so. From little acorns great oaks grow helps to visualise the end result as it is important to have a clear goal. Millions of people over many centuries have used these sayings as a spur to achievement, and so can you.

What should the project be -- how to chose? The dog that runs around finds a bone. So, with growing confidence and determination the "Proverb Practitioner" must scout (or sniff) out the possible options.

The vast cavern of the Internet caters for just about any and every human interest -- lots of "bones" here. Many people are looking to make money, find friends, achieve personal goals, learn an instrument, language or skill. There is unlimited choice.

However, Don't flog a dead horse. It must be something that will enthuse, excite and prove beneficial. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. If it doesn't arouse some passion the result might be boredom and a temptation to give up. Stick with what you know sounds like good advice. Why reinvent the wheel?

Have fun searching out your own project, but this "Proverb Practitioner" is an enthusiastic poet and songwriter and sniffing around his own "bone yard" has found a collection of song demos made and forgotten.

One of the problems of being creative is the tendency to want to move on to the next new thing, to procrastinate over doing something with what you already have. Don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today. Perhaps it is time to take action. The usual route is to send a song demo CD to the Artist and Repertoire people of record companies and hope they like you. But they are very busy and you are lucky to get a good hearing. Trial and error constitutes a wasteful method -- try thinking first.

BRIGHT IDEA: We are now in the age of mass participation so why not let the people decide?

But don't be dumb, you can't send the whole world a CD! So, what can be done?

Think! Fortune favors the bold. (Several hours later) How about a video on YouTube with a song embedded -- nothing fancy that requires techie know-how (this is on a shoestring budget) just enough to give people an idea if they think it is cool. After all: Nothing ventured nothing gained.

That then is the 2008 challenge, no more faffing about: take a song from zero to hero by years end. Mistakes, errors, blunders, frustration, procrastination, temptation and gremlins of all sorts will try to get in the way but with a cry of: If at first you don't succeed, try, try and try again and Who Dares Wins it is onwards and upwards.

Have fun.
See you soon.


Definition: Proverb Practitioner, someone who guides their activities with the wisdom of proverbs.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Small beginnings make great endings

So, did you keep last year's resolutions? Can you even remember what they were? Perhaps they were too ambitious, too unrealistic -- more wishful thinking than practical reality. Perhaps you should have set a small, realisable goal and on accomplishing that moved on to bigger and better things.

A rolling stone might gather no moss but a rolling snowball grows bigger and bigger. You have to pay attention to specific detail -- the same effort in different circumstances will produce very different results.

We have all heard, with some incredulity, the oft quoted statement of weather forecasters that the fluttering of a butterfly's wings in one part of the hemisphere will produce a hurricane in another. Well... maybe, but we get the message -- something small can be the starting point that creates movement, and through growing momentum, leads to something great.

I hope you have better results from your New Years Resolutions this coming year and I would like to invite you to follow an experiment I will be conducting.

You have heard me talk the talk and now I want to walk the walk. I intend to pursue several projects on the Internet in 2008 to prove the practical value of ancient wisdom. All decisions will be taken with proverbial guidance and I will report each step in the blog for you to follow.

I would like to wish you all a very happy and prosperous New Year.
William Clark