Song Doctor Blog
Read about how to write better songs
Prefacing a blog post on creative writing I enjoyed by Willow Love Little was this pearler from Hemingway
It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way. Ernest Hemingway
A central thought was that intensive study of great and canonical works of literature highlights artistry and cultural context but fails to study the manuscript as process. There is ‘no glimpse behind the curtain’ at the effort, drafts, self doubt and rejections that go into the final texts.
The piece argues that while the idea that successful writers are born full of unadulterated talent is attractive, it denies the efforts that have gone into artistic development, that glamourising the creative process ultimately makes it more difficult to create.
Far less sexy to study the morass of cul de sacs, flops and inevitable duds that are as part and parcel of creation. That artistic endeavour has many more misses than hits and that craft, technique and experience are necessary to an artist’s personal growth and ultimate expression is perhaps less attention grabbing than the myth of being an overnight sensation.
For artists who don’t create or interpret in front of live audiences – painters, songwriters, producers, authors, filmmakers - artistic effort can be less immediately calculable than performance artists. How many pirouettes can the dancer do – how high can the soprano sing. There’s the concept of ‘10,000 hours’ as a tipping point to achieving mastery propounded by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers and although the ‘magic number’ been challenged as a simplification, there’s food for thought in considering what that approach as a writer – specifically a songwriter – might do.
Or are you just born that way?
Talk more soon
ps final 3 spots left for Tahora Songwriting Retreat 17- 20 January 2020. Grab yours.