Songwriting has always come naturally to me, but ever since starting Blackbird Guitars, not to mention a family, it’s been difficult to find time to craft. After a decade of not producing anything that is even fit to email over to mom, I am ready to get serious about writing songs again. Not to say there haven't been riffs or jams here or there that got recorded and saved in some dusty harddrive, just no proper songs. 40 is coming and I am doing my best here to stave off the mid-life crisis.
It takes a certain measure of focus and discipline to finish a song. So to get this process going, I decided to start writing about writing and to go from regretting not writing the next great American album to getting some songs to tape. So thats the goal and to achieve it, I need a plan of course with tactics that get me back to writing again. Here is my first stab at some tactics
1. Carve out little moments (as little as a few minutes) and longer sessions when you can several times per week. Its best to have an instrument around for whenever the moment strikes but it has to be regular- it has to be a practice. In my case, I'll let my wife go out while I work at home and babysit the kids. They go to bed at around 8pm leaving a few hours to make it happen.
2. Always document/record- no excuses if you don't have a smart phone/tablet with a voice recorder app and a writing program. Of course there are plenty of songwriting related apps too. Nice also to always carry a small notepad- an actual one with a pen that is! Paper and pen seemed to work well for Hendrix and there is something about all this digitalia that can get tedious.
3. Change of scenery- I find getting outdoors or traveling helps spark my creatively- this works much better if you can bring your instrument with you of course.
4. Play music with others- I’m bringing the band back together- hopefully it will be more Sargent Peppers than Abbey Road. Regardless, I don’t want these songs to live in a cave, rather get some feedback and creative input early- though that exposing a song early can be delicate depending on the audience because early ideas are often delicate.
5. Try another instrument (even if its some synth on your phone)- picking up a harmonium or drum machine or non-guitar tuned string instrument always leads to new ideas for me and getting me out of the same old patterns.
Now that I have a short list of tactics to adhere to, I'll get to it and let you know how it goes next week (or month).