365 SONGS…365 DAYS…THE CURE FOR WRITER’S BLOCK?
August 18, 2010 – NASHVILLE, TN
Ladies and gentlemen of the songwriting world. I would like you to take a journey. It is an unusual journey that involves songwriting and a personal undertaking I am fully immersed in at this time.
I know lots of songwriters that look for inspiration in lots of ways and places. If you are in love or you just broke up it can come quite easily. At other times you may suffer from the dreaded “Writer’s Block.” For myself, I will never have “Writer’s Block” and I would like to tell you how I have skirted that issue.
Like most people I always make frivolous resolutions every New Year’s Day. I don’t know what caused me to do this but last January 1st I decided I would write one song a day for the entire year. I put no other stipulations on this effort other than to sit down and write one song per day (average) for the next 365 days. Sound hard? Sound easy. You have to judge that for yourself. Literally dozens of hit songwriters have told me to, “Write every day and you will get better.” I guess I am just crazy enough to try it.
When I began this adventure I didn’t tell anyone because I expected it to be like a lot of efforts I have made in my lifetime. In other words, I would get bored and give up after a short period of time and go back to other, perhaps more fruitful, endeavors in a short period of time. After all my best events in life so far have been procrastination and long-distance driving without sleep.
Guess what? It hasn’t worked out that way at all. Why? First and foremost I am passionately dedicated to the craft of songwriting. That is why I chucked my past lives and moved to Nashville in the first place. I have a casual yet intense approach to songwriting that consumes a lot of what I am about. I take advantage of what NSAI, National Songwriters Association International (http://www.nashvillesongwriters.com) has to offer as well as the PRO’s and other organizations and entities involved with singing and songwriting.
Since January 1st my efforts have yielded 314 songs and it is only the 228th day of the year. Do I write every day? NO! Sometimes I have to eat. But I either use my digital recorder or write down ideas constantly. Sometimes people at music venues think I am copying down their lyrics. Wrong? Just ideas. My mind is working all the time. 365 songs is easily within reach by the end of the year. But, I won’t stop when I reach that number. I’m going to write whenever it hits me no matter where I am.
Now, I know you are going to ask, “How good can these songs be if the volume is so high?” To be honest with you some of them are pretty bad. Some are ludicrous, stupid, or even clichéd. But, guess what? Some of them are pretty good. Some are notable and worth a second look and a re-write. And some of them I am pretty proud of.
Everyone seems to take different directions when they embark on their songwriting journey and I never would have guessed trying to write this many songs would become part of my daily challenge. At this point I wonder what is going to pop out of my wandering brain at any given moment. Thank god for my digital recorder, paper, pens and computers
And, is this effort paying off? I have to give that a. Y-E-S! I have been able to reach a point where I automatically drop un-needed and over-used words and phrases (familiarity breeds contempt) and find better ways to say the same old thing. My lyrics have become more precise and, finally, conversational. I am able to see common mistakes and pitfalls that used to plague my writing efforts. I have more clarity of vision once I get an idea also.
Is writing this much unique? I don’t know anybody else that is trying to do it. And there is a pretty good sized group of people that think I am totally nuts. Please realize if I was gainfully employed as a songwriter and I was trying to write hit songs for top-drawer performers, my focus would change in an instant. I would give each and every song more attention to writing the perfect piece for public consumption. But that is not the case or the purpose of this effort. I have yet to reach the level of Rivers Rutherford, Angela Kaset, Steve Seskin, Alan Shamblin, or Lady Antebellum. And I may never be. Only time and effort will tell.
Simply stated; by writing every day I can see vast improvement, better lines, focused ideas, and more precise structure. In the end this may allow me to break some rules or even with something that has importance to someone other than me. I would like that…A lot!
So far the breakdown in numbers of my songs per month is: January – 43, February – 18, March – 48, April – 29, May – 36, June –34, July – 42, August – 64 (so far.) It is only August 18th as I am writing this so I think I will shoot for 100 this month.
I fully expect to wake up some morning with ink and words spread around on the bedding that have leaked out of my various bodily orifices during the night as I slept. I s strange, but having words come so freely is like living in a Science Fiction movie where someone finds an unidentifiable body in the last scene. The CSI’s are standing around the lifeless form which appears to be totally covered in words tattooed from head to foot.
If you would like to see where this whole thing leads, stay tuned. Keep in touch by FaceBook or by email ([email protected]) Encourage me, if you care to take the time. Dysfunctional songwriters need love too. Or even become part of it by co-writing with me. Most of the songs in this effort are a singular effort at this point but I love to co-write.
Stay in touch. I love this town and all the strange things it makes me do.