My musical woodshed is really in a small room at the foot of our basement stairs.

For musicians, going to the woodshed means focusing their time and attention on practicing to improve their craft, to learn – or perhaps compose – new songs and new techniques, and then to emerge ready to play.

As a cover band musician playing pop, classic rock and blues, I worked in the woodshed (see photo), finding the most detailed sheet music or online tabs, play along with recordings, and search for the perfect sound on my guitars, amps and pedals. Sometimes we call it “woodshedding,” and it's a mode of playing, learning and living, really, with intense effort, study and satisfaction.

TV shopping networks promise practically anyone can learn guitar, just as so many journalists and analysts say anyone can become an internet publisher. That democratization of opportunity doesn't mean much without hard work and practice.

As the new version of the Blue Spoons Content website launches this week, my fledgling communications business comes out of the woodshed. It demonstrates my writing for the web, email and social media, and beyond that I also write speeches, opinion pieces and strategic communications plans.

The new Blue Spoons website, built on the relatively young Ghost blogging/website platform (more of that in my next story), was challenging. Like a cover band guitarist, I didn't write my own site from the ground up. I adapted themes and templates, customizing elements like you would in a structured jam session.

Working for myself, I was hard to please, my own harshest critic, but a willing student learning through mistakes, repetition, and busting through barrier tasks that required new tools or techniques.

That's part of woodshedding, and this kind of concentration crosses the generations. It's like how my dad got under the hood of his old Chrysler, or how my son Ryan practiced batting, kicking the football, volleyball and playing about five musical instruments until he mastered those skills.

Dad often reminded me of that old joke about a tourist getting lost in New York City, stopping to ask an old man, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” “Practice!” (Insert dramatic pause.) “Practice!” he replied.

I reckon that's the reason I'll call Blue Spoons Content a communications practice from now on.

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