What is your songwriting procedure? Do you have a method of writing, or do you write when the feeling hits you? If you don’t have a process for composing, that may be the very reason that you find it difficult to finish songs that you start.
Songwriting, like the creation of any other work of art, is a combination of artistic inspiration and craft. By artistic inspiration, I mean that ability songwriters have to simply call up musical thoughts and ideas. If musical lines, melodies, and other song components pop into your brain, you’re using that ability. Good songwriters need it, but inspiration is not usually enough to keep a song going to the point of completion. You need more.
The more is called craft. Craft is the ability to take those musically inspired thoughts and ideas, and complete a great piece of music. Craft is the skill of being able to put a song together, sometimes without the benefit of inspiration.
Think of movie soundtrack composers. They are often given explicit instructions as to the kind of music necessary for a particular scene. It may not at all be the sort of thing they’re feeling inspired to write, and yet they still must do it. They must come up with something that inspires others without necessarily feeling inspired themselves.
So how to you do this? Here are some tips that can help you compose without feeling inspired:
- Set aside a particular time of the day or evening for composing. This half hour, or hour, is your time. Don’t let other things get in the way. Setting a time breeds discipline, a very necessary part of being a writer.
- Give yourself songwriting challenges. (“The Essential Secrets of Songwriting- LESSONS” will give you plenty of fun songwriting “games” that will keep the creative juices flowing.)
- Keep a note book with you at all times, and write down lyrical word combinations that occur to you throughout the day
- Never throw out any piece of music you’re writing, no matter how bad you think it is. You’d be surprised how a musical phrase will take on new meaning when you look at it a few months down the road.
- Listen, listen, LISTEN to other genres of music that don’t usually interest you. Becoming acquainted with styles and genres not your own will stimulate your creative juices in very important ways.
Of all the tips above, establishing a set time of the day to do your writing is perhaps the most important one. That’s the one that will speed up the development of songwriting discipline, and without discipline, you’ll find it hard to ever finish a song.
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