As a championship winning race car driver. my husband Michael knows you can usually hit the 1 minute 35 second mark on a lap at Mosport. He also knows that to win the race, you need to run the lap in 1:30, and that those critical five seconds are incrementally the most difficult.
Yes, there are occasions that for some unknown reason everything aligns and you hit the target time. Yay! it just happens and you don’t know how you did it. Hmmm, maybe it was a tail wind up the straight away. Maybe the sun was hitting the track hotter in one corner. Maybe the track was cleaner. Maybe. Maybe. The key is that you don’t know. And if you want to win races, you can’t rely on maybe.
Sure, you can be lucky. But you can't rely on luck. Winning is more attainable with hard work. It's the going back. The testing. And more testing. It’s changing the tire pressure, the alignment settings, ride heights, corner weights, brake bias, wing settings, sway bars. You test and you change, you modify, you revisit, you rethink, you step back, you try different configurations, you calculate the weather. It’s a fine balance of all with everything changing. It’s the experience, and the experience of applying the hard work. And although it never comes easy, with experience and knowledge it becomes an informed process of “if I do that, this ‘should’ occur".
And sometimes you can write a great song that comes together easy. Seems you just sit down and it all flows onto the page while you metaphorically look out the window and drive. This, in my experience is not the norm, but if, or when it happens, enjoy the ride :) However, as with racing, the better informed you are and the more experience you have ‘on the track’ the better your songs will be. And truly, it’s the hard work, the editing, the crafting. It’s going back, re-exploring, rethinking. It's the fine tuning. Because chances are, if you don’t do the hard work, you will have spent all that time, potentially using up a 'good-could-be-great' concept, only to arrive at the 1:35 mark. Finishing at ‘fine’.
Working to get gain the extra 5 seconds will make the difference of whether or not you get a shot at standing on the top step. “Good enough’ - isn’t. Do the hard work and aim for great songs. Because first place trophies line the front of the shelf.