Song Doctor Blog
Read how to write better songs
Some days, your ideas flow quickly, but others - it’s a blocked pipe, mate! Recognising that inspiration is ‘random’ but more 'probable' when you’re writing consistently, is huge. The good news is that getting fluent, whether you’re feeling inspired or not, is totally trainable.
Cop this. If you’re learning to play guitar, you‘ll be encouraged to practice every day even if you don’t feel like it. And you’ll know it takes time to learn the instrument and the music, and for your body to manage it. Your skill develops incrementally.
Same goes for songwriting. For some reason, when we try to write a song, we can feel pressure to create an instant hit, which can turn the tap right off!
So, flip your mindset and write a little every day. Don’t stress about writing complete songs.
Book time to play with fragments, with words, ideas, phrases, riffs, melodies and chords.
Collate raw material and build your ideas file.
In fact, this whole phase is called ideation, and really, all things are welcome. You're looking for whatever sparks your imagination - what images you can conjure up and jot down from as many sources as you can access. From people you’ve met, small or large events, things you’ve read, sights and sounds, dreams, hopes, desires and everything in between, and capturing all this data.
Keep a list of titles as you go. Titles are a great place to start because they encapsulate a song’s ‘message’, and can trigger chorus lyrics.
(A word about your ideas file - use your phone, use a notebook, use your laptop, whatever but keep it close and backed up. Saves pain later.)
In another session, you look for which ideas you think can go places, which can be developed. You may have several songs on the go – it can happen that way. You may have an ideas bin on your desktop with tracks in progress and a list of titles in your phone.
Some ideas may go nowhere, which is normal. Some can be cannibalised and wind up in other songs. Also normal. The point is exercising your songwriting muscles regularly and positively.
You are in the process of making something. You’re ‘in flow’!
Talk more soon
ps here's an interview I did on RNZ about songwriting