Learning to rewrite your songs can be daunting for a developing songwriter. After all, it can take an enormous amount of effort to just get the first draft down.
But at some stage, as you go through some sort of verification process - your bandmates don't LOVE it, or the audience is well lukewarm on it or your producer goes yeah - nah, you're going to have to either face the re-writing edifice or file your baby away in the 'almost ran' folder on your hard drive and quietly log off.
Sometimes, other people's less than positive reactions can provoke quite a significant response in you. If someone performs a detailed teardown on your tune for you, and you're not ready for it or you haven't disconnected from the material enough, it can be pretty ouchy. But as an old lecturer of mine once said criticism only hurts when it's justified.
This is where you going to need some core resilience to bounce back and judiciously sift the wheat from the chaff of this input. Why is the song not connecting as you want? How tied up with this song are you? Can you figure out why its stumbling? Does the singer persistently forget the lyrics to the second verse? Does the audience drift away before the second chorus or are they sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for you to deliver the next installment of heartfelt well-crafted lyrical gems?
If your song flops around on the sand like a dying flounder doesn't mean it's wasted work. Dead fish make good fertiliser. I would strongly encourage you to keep your drafts, even your dungers. Something's been triggered and it may just be a pit stop on the way to something stronger, but keep the whole log book of the journey.
A group of Song Clinic attendees are debating the pros and cons of how you keep your drafts online at this very moment. While Google Drive makes editing, especially collaborative editing, so much quicker, you can lose the first drafts (which you may very well go back to at some stage) or even just a choice line or solitary word. Furthermore, getting your drafts off the screen by using printouts and old school biro can stimulate you visually, as does the physical act of handwriting in a journal. I think use it all, but keep it all. When you get stuck, you've got something to kick against, something to review.
The seams won't always show on your favourite song, but you can bet your bottom dollar, someone sure did some serious stitching on it.
Talk more soon!
Hi, I'm Charlotte Yates and I can help you get better at writing songs.