Christmas is looming large—a mere eight days away—and I have been enjoying an unexpectedly quiet exam week. After returning from Orlando Monday evening, I’ve enjoyed some sleepily productive time at home, writing Christmas postcards and letters, watching movies, and enjoying the warm glow of my Christmas tree. I’ll be spending next week with family, and all the hustle and bustle of my niece and nephews, so this quiet time at home has been a welcome calm before the joyous storm.
Despite the lack of serious deadlines (other than waiting for final exams to roll in so I can grade them), I’ve managed to get quite a bit done, and I hope to get a bit ahead on the blog. I enjoy writing daily posts, but it’s nice knowing I have a few posts squared away some days in advance, as it relieves some of the pressure to produce. I’ll be doing more throwback posts and the like as Christmas approaches, as it’s the time of year when we’re all scaling back our efforts and taking a bit of a break.
That all goes to the point of this TBT post, “O Little Town of Bethlehem and the Pressures of Songwriting.” The story behind the sweetly iconic carol is one of last-minute inspiration and hasty songwriting. There is something about the intense pressure of a time-crunch that turns the coal of writer’s block into glistening diamonds. Not every songwriter works this way, but I know for myself that a hard deadline does wonders for motivating this songwriter’s pen.
Indeed, during the height of distance learning in the spring, I fully anticipated I’d be churning out new hits, maybe even finalizing a long-delayed follow-up to my piano-and-vocals debut, Contest Winner – EP. Instead, I squandered my newfound time (well, “squandered” is a strong word—I quite enjoyed taking that time to work on the blog, to travel, and to do the other things I’m usually unable to do). Without a deadline pushing me to create, I didn’t get anything done!
Or maybe that’s just my excuse. Regardless, I imagine it’s something many songwriters can relate to, and it’s certainly the story behind “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”
With that, here is December 2020’s “O Little Town of Bethlehem and the Pressures of Songwriting“:
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