Guest Post: Writing is a Lot like Making Music by Jon Budd

Today, at TRB Lounge, we are hosting author Jon Budd, author of The Legend Of The Washo Gold.

Presenting Jon Budd…

Writing is a Lot like Making Music

Writing is a lot like playing music. The goals of both are to create something that you can feel good about. The challenge is how to do it. One of the hardest parts is starting. When you begin something, whether it’s a piece of writing or learning how to play an instrument or a song, you don’t really know how it’s going to turn out. You’re not really sure if you can even create anything worthwhile. Sometimes it can be like stepping out of your front door to go on a long journey without knowing where you are going. Fear of the unknown can be a difficult obstacle to overcome. A good quantity of blind faith is required. Sometimes, the crucial first step of any endeavor is to say, “Damn the torpedoes” and just take that step and start!

Commitment is also an integral part in creating music and literature. This, especially in the face of long dry periods where despite your efforts, there are no, clear, positive results readily apparent. It can be so easy to just give up. But, this is where the rubber meets the road. One has to fight through these dark periods.

There is probably a hatful of tricks to help the artist work through these droughts. The one that I have found useful for both music and literature is to focus my goal not necessarily on the outcome, but on the process. Just how do you do that, you ask? Well, the answer is I reward myself every day that I write or practice music by keeping a very simple, handwritten, data sheet documenting my work. For example, for my music, I take a sheet of lined, notebook, paper. At the top of the page, I write, “Guitar Practice” and the year. Then, I number the lines below from one to twelve. These numbers are for each month. Then, for each day of the month that I practice for at least one hour a day, I list the calendar number for the day (i.e. 10: 1, 2, 3…). Then, I challenge myself to make and break records of consecutive days that I practiced. My current record is 141 consecutive days. Using this technique, you can actually see progress, if not immediately in your performance level, then in your commitment level. You are rewarded for increasing your commitment. When you increase your commitment, you work yourself closer to achieving your goal of actually improving your art and creating something worthwhile. I have these sheets going back years now and it has helped me achieve things musically that I thought I would never come close to. I even track my scales and songs that I work on in this manner.

Like music, an artist can also use this simple technique for creating literature. Instead of practicing guitar for an hour, write as hard as you can for one hour a day. Make your data sheet, shut out the world, and begin by focusing on one chapter per day. Below the list of months on your data sheet, when you begin, list the chapters one to ten. It’s alright, you will eventually end up with many more chapters, but ten is good number to start. Then, put a little hash mark next to each chapter as you work on them each day. For example, the first day, you work on Chapter One as hard as you can for just one hour. Start by just explaining to yourself what this chapter is about. Then, put a hash mark down for Chapter One. On the next day, do the same thing for your Chapter Two. Do this until you have worked through the entire ten chapters. You now at least have a beginning and an end to your novel, with maybe some good stuff in between. This is your first rough draft. You spend the rest of the time improving it.

If you are doing fiction, you can even list your characters and put hash marks by their names on your data sheet. Spend an hour a day, just writing about your characters. Who are they? What are they like? Who do they remind you of? This is one way you can develop deep, rich, fictional characters.

Hopefully, with this first step out of the door and the commitment you document on your data sheet, you will look up from your work somewhere down the road and see some real movement toward the goal of creating something worthwhile that you feel good about.

About the author:


Jon Budd is an author, musician, and an archeologist. He is also known by his formal name, Jonathan Budd. He grew up in Northern New Mexico playing music and studying ancient Indian ruins. Jon started playing professionally for school dances when he was fourteen years old. By the time he was sixteen, he was performing in nightclubs. When he came of age, he lived and performed in Albuquerque, Houston, and Denver. It was in Denver where he began his university training in archeology. He moved to Los Angeles and recorded his original music album entitled, “Musical Ontology”. This album consists of ten original songs that Jon composed as well as a drum solo he performs. Jon wrote and produced all of the music. He sang all of the songs, played drums, keyboards, most of the guitars, as well as some of the bass guitar. There are some really talented musicians who also recorded on Jon’s album including Andy West (bass), Cornelius Bumpus (saxophone), and Steve Richards and Mike Richards on Guitars. This album is available as a compact disc album as well as individual song downloads at Jon now performs in and around Austin, Texas – the Live Music Capitol of the World!

You can reach him at:


About the book:

To prevent a repeat of the Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, Hank, a modern day Native American Indian, overcomes his doubts about his tribe’s ancient religion and leads a war party to recover a cursed Indian treasure.

Succumbing to the genocide brought down upon them during the infamous 1849 California Gold Rush, the Washo Indians were teetering on the brink of extinction. With the help of a mysterious stranger, they devised an ingenious plan to survive. Many years later, when the secret of their survival is threatened, the tribe appoints a modern day warrior to lead a war party to San Francisco to recover stolen Indian treasure and secure the secret of the Washo Gold.

This novel enables the reader to experience the infamous 1849 California Gold Rush from the perspective of a tribe of Native American Indians who lived through it.

Related Post: Author Interview: Jon Budd

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