What is Square One?

I've been reading Kathy Sierra's blog forever now and recommend her to almost every musician I know. Funny, because she writes about software development and learning, not music. But her ideas and observations are completely applicable to just about any profession, including working musicians.

My latest favorite: Don't forget square one, a reminder to keep practicing the fundamentals, and why.

Now more than ever, it feels like independent artists are bombarded with advice to do stuff. Start a blog! Work that mailing list! License your music! Podcast! These are all good ideas. However, all that stuff really should take a back seat to the two things that propel every artist's career: writing and rehearsing.

I've experienced it myself, and I've seen it in my peers: the wild-eyed desperation that seems to come from too many late nights spent trolling MySpace, fussing over DIY marketing plans, scheming ways to get more money/exposure/fame and so on. Sure, good music doesn't sell itself. But if you're doing all this at the cost of writing compelling tunes and working on compelling performances, well, what's the point?