Milestone Segmentation

Day 055 Week 08 Q1 Sunday, February 25, 2024

There are as many creative processes as there are creative people, but for me, what works best is to have a top-down vision of the deliverable and then segment it in terms of milestones. Whether it be a musical composition, a television show, a column, a story, or even just a conversation, it is worth it for me to decide what the major milestones are and then figure out what the connective tissue between them is after.

When you’re riding in orchestral, work is a bit like telling a story, and the important parts of the story need to have more attention paid to them than exactly how you get there. I really regard the notes as sacrosanct, as many different combinations of notes can get me to where I want to get at any point in time. This is also true when telling a story or writing a book. The larger question is, where are you going? And why are you going there?

In order for other human beings to be emotionally engaged by what you are presenting to them, in general, you do need to tell a story. There needs to be an arc that integrates the multiple things that you are saying or playing or writing into a coherent whole. And frequently, this, or cannot be put into words, which is why art exists after all, which is not to say that writing is not artful as it is, but many things need to be said that words cannot totally convey.

You may need to keep the larger arc in mind while you are creating the connective tissue between the milestones, but you do not need to go into tremendous detail on the larger structure. You need to preserve your attention on the part of what you’re doing that is right in front of you right now. This is why segmentation is so helpful. It is a way to deal with the complexity of reality, not having to deal with all of the dimensions at the same time. When you are in the integration mode, you may have to deal with all of the dimensions at the same time, but the majority of the time, you are not in integration, but you are creating the components that need to be conjoined.

The milestones need to stand out in contrast to the connector tissue. Since they are more prominent, they deserve more perfecting. You can raise the entire level of what you’re doing by raising the level of the milestones, and then the connective tissue will have to follow suit. This does not have to be a primarily intellectual or cerebral process. It is more likely a feeling about how well you are telling the story, and then your rational mind can attempt to cope with the connective tissue, but I suspect that your subconscious always has a better job of this.