For many, songwriting is a personal activity done in seclusion. For others, songwriting means getting together with bandmates to work out the next song. Your comfort level with regard to how much you like to write alone or with others probably relates in a direct way to whether you are an introvert or an extrovert.
Those terms, introvert and extrovert, tend to be thought of as extremes of behaviour, when in reality we all usually possess characteristics of being both. For example, you may enjoy the company of large groups of friends, but you might also enjoy having days when you get to spend time alone.
When it comes to dealing with your creative mind, how much of an introvert or extrovert you are might become important, particularly as you prepare to start a songwriting session. Getting ready to write songs (and in fact, getting ready to start any kind of creative project) requires relaxing and focusing your mind. How you should relax and focus depends on whether you are primarily an introvert or an extrovert.
If you’re not sure where you are on the introvert/extrovert spectrum, there are various online tests you can try, including this one from Psychology Today. (This test will give you a personalized paragraph-long summary for free, but will want a fee for more specifics).
If you already know that you’re mainly an introvert or mainly an extrovert, you’ll want to make sure that whatever you’re doing to get the most out of your songwriting sessions.
If You’re Mainly An Introvert
If you’re the kind of person that keeps a small circle of friends, and gets the most out of alone time, try any of the following things to get your mind moving in the right direction:
- Get to a quiet room where you can be sure you won’t be disturbed. Turn down the lights, close your eyes, and relax. If you need it, put on some quiet music. The idea is to allow your brain to slow down and focus.
- Go for a walk in a quiet park.
- Go for a run by yourself.
- Do yard work on your own (cut the grass, wash the car, prune the hedge… that kind of thing.)
- Go to a café or bookstore.
The idea is to let go of the concerns of the day, and get yourself focusing inward. After a short time with any of these activities, you should be ready to pick up your pencil and start writing.
If You’re Mainly An Extrovert
If you’re the kind of person who loves to get together with others, and if you find that friends, fun and laughter is what recharges your batteries and gets you motivated to work, try these things to get yourself ready for a songwriting session:
- Drop in on a group of friends for a coffee and chat.
- Have a nice long chat with a friend.
- Go someplace where you get to be around lots of people: the local shopping centre, student centre, a cafeteria… that sort of place.
- Have a meal with a group of friends.
- Invite friends over for a sing-along.
As you can see, the idea is that if you’re an extrovert, you’re more likely to find inspiration in the company of others.
No matter who you are, or how you might describe your personality, you will often do at least part of the songwriting process in some sort of seclusion. But how you prepare your mind to do something creative will differ depending on your own personal makeup.
How well you prepare to become creative will go a long way to determining how successful your creative process is. Engaging in pre-writing activities that suit your personality type will be a very important part of that success.
The ideas from this blog post come from Gary’s book, “Beating Songwriter’s Block: Jump-Start Your Words and Music“, published by Backbeat Books (Hal Leonard)
Get Gary’s songwriting ebooks, and become a more consistently excellent songwriter. “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” eBook Bundle includes a free copy of “Creative Chord Progressions” READ MORE