Get something – anything – written, and do it quickly.
“The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6-eBook Bundle now includes a free copy of “From Amateur to Ace: Writing Songs Like a Pro.”
Songwriting is an improvisatory art. The best ideas come from noodling around on an instrument, whether by yourself or with a songwriting partner. In that sense, songwriting happens in two stages: the improvising stage and then the writing stage.
These days, with the help of technology, songwriting might be happening sitting at your computer instead of with a guitar in your hand. But even in such cases, songs begin with the testing out of ideas (improvising), and then eventually committing to some of them by clicking the “Enter” key (writing).
It’s fun when ideas become a fully-fledged song in short order. It feels gratifying when one idea leads quickly to the next. The creation of song ideas keeps injecting a shot of inspiration, and it means that some songs can become complete in a day or even less.
But don’t be surprised if it takes days, weeks or even months to get a song to sound exactly right. That’s not an indication that something has gone wrong, or that you have writer’s block. That’s simply a reminder that sometimes art takes a long time. That’s either worthwhile to you, or it’s not.
But there is nothing like the curse of the proverbial blank page. That blank page is there to remind you that you’ve got nothing. No ideas yet worth recording, and it can feel like a taunt.
The solution: write your songs quickly. Get something down fast.
Even if you think that what you are writing is sounding like garbage, get it written, and do it quickly.
There’s a good reason for this: bad music can be fixed. It can be shaped, developed, honed, crafted, edited, replaced, and otherwise beaten into a great song.
A blank page? A blank page can’t be fixed. A blank page doesn’t give you anything except the reminder that you’ve got nothing.
Besides giving you something you can fix, speedwriting has another great benefit: it trains the musical brain to spontaneously create ideas quickly. Creativity can be practiced; speed can be practiced.
Whether you write your words and music on a sheet of paper or on a computer screen, the advice is the same: if you’re staring at a blank page, you’ve got nothing. Get something written, and do it quickly.
Then, at least, you have something you can fix, and you’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment and encouragement that will help the editing process to happen quickly.
Written by Gary Ewer. Follow on Twitter.
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