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  #16  
Old 01-24-2020, 05:55 PM
foxo foxo is offline
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Between August and November I wrote about twenty songs, a lot of them keepers and enough to write a second album I worked on with a friend. I haven’t written anything I am satisfied with in the last two months though. I do wish I could tap into creativity all the time but for me it comes and goes without explanation.
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Old 01-24-2020, 07:24 PM
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Artistic creativity is a very unpredictable visitor. It arrives unannounced and departs in the same manner. It can't be convinced to stay, nor will it leave a trace of itself behind.

I write a lot of melodies. That's pretty much my interest. Some call it noodling around and it's true. I think that's where originality lies. For that reason I stopped actively listening to published music in 76. I just sort of drifted away from it when writing shifted my interest.

Not being a wordsmith, I will take poems and put them to melodies I write. It's like a collaboration. Anyway, poetry has a wealth of dynamics available to assist the writer in honing his craft. A by-product of it is the exposure to various writing styles, word usages and associations.
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Old 01-24-2020, 08:12 PM
Dru Edwards Dru Edwards is offline
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I find songwriting is no different than any other specialty; it takes practice. I can look at the song lyrics I wrote over 30 years ago and compare them to now (or any in the past 20 years) and there's a significant improvement. I'm sure any writer would tell you the same thing ... write.
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Old 01-24-2020, 09:56 PM
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This might not help with organizational aspects of songwriting, but the best advise I ever received is allow your self to suck as a writer. It’s ok to write crappy songs as long as you are writing. This shuts the editor off. And every now and then you will surprise yourself with a song that does not suck

I have loads of crappy songs. But I now have a collection of songs that I feel proud of. They would never have been written if I did not allow my self to write the crappy ones. And some of the crappy ones have potential to improve.
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  #20  
Old 01-24-2020, 11:48 PM
Laughingboy68 Laughingboy68 is offline
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A few suggestions:

1. Try to start your day with a stream of consciousness, full page of writing. Ignore your inner critic and just write whatever comes in your head. It doesn’t have to make sense or have ideas that connect. Just write from pure instinct. Fill the page and put it away. After some time - hours or days, go back and look at what you wrote. There will be mostly junk, but usually one or two phrases, lines or words will grab your attention. The exercise is as important as the result.

2. I often take the challenge of using a new theoretical device in a song. For example, I was learning how to use secondary dominants to spice up chord progressions and decided that I needed a song that skillfully changed keys using this device. The challenge provides some inspiration in and of itself.

3. I will sometimes shamelessly steal one device from a song I love. It could be the rhyme scheme, a syncopated rhythm, a broad lyrical idea or the melody, but inverted. The key is to take only one factor and use it as a starting point. It gives the writing process some direction and no one will be able to tell where you “borrowed” from.

4. Keep a songwriting book close at hand. Write stuff down. Use your phone to record stuff as much as you can. It keeps good ideas from slipping through the cracks.

5. Give yourself permission to write some bad songs. Often perfect is the enemy of good. Your greatest work will come eventually, but sometimes trying to make everything great will just sap your momentum and prevent you from writing anything at all.

6. Don’t let emotional moments go by without using them to create. It can be good for your soul to do the self examination that writing provides. Like a self discovery journal but with melody, harmony and rhyme.

7. I sometimes find that singing with an artificial harmony generator can spark something. Those algorithms can be so inspiring. I’m sorry Sean, just kidding.

Have fun.
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  #21  
Old 01-25-2020, 05:01 AM
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I have just started writing songs. For years, I had written non-fiction, but never songs or poetry. The way it seems to work for me, is first, I need to daydream a bit. Then, a phrase, be it musical or prose, seems to start the process. If I am lucky, it starts to grow and morph and bloom. That being said, I am filling notebooks with seeds that didn’t sprout.

On TrueFire.com, Ellis Paul has created several courses on songwriting. He developed a couple of graphic posters aimed at generating ideas and refining songs. His thinking is to engage as many senses as possible in order to spur your creativity. Check his stuff out as it can really lead you to a path that pushes ideas forward.

Enjoy the journey.

Rick
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  #22  
Old 01-25-2020, 10:11 AM
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Artistic creativity is a very unpredictable visitor. It arrives unannounced and departs in the same manner. It can't be convinced to stay, nor will it leave a trace of itself behind.

Love this!! It's a fabulous lyric all by itself!
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  #23  
Old 01-25-2020, 10:50 AM
Denny B Denny B is offline
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I watched a very good documentary on Bob Weir, called "The Other One"...I think it's still showing on Netflix...

He was talking about songwriting, and that he had spent a lot of nights writing when he would have rather been asleep in bed...

He said, "It comes through the window when it WANTS to come through the window..."
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  #24  
Old 01-25-2020, 10:53 AM
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More good stuff, folks; thanks. Some fundamentals are definitely emerging here, and they are familiar because, I’m sure, they’re true. One being keep writing! Even the Beatles wrote some clunkers and if any among us thinks we’re going to bat .800 with our songs, I’m sure we’re sadly mistaken. I’d think that a 1-in-10 songs being a keeper is a pretty good batting average. And that’s an issue with me — expectations are too big and when you don’t attain them, you discourage yourself. The idea of getting ideas down right away is of course a big one and I use my phone, as well as pen and paper, to do that. Capture even little nuggets when they appear. I do that both with audio and lyrical ideas. I just have to do more of it, and keep the ball moving, doing it regularly and consistently. I also loved the thought of creativity being an unpredictable visitor — definitely true, and all the more reason to practice the above habits — again, regularly and consistently.

Keep ‘em coming; I know many of us will be reading....

And LaughingBoy — six good tips and one funny one!
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  #25  
Old 01-25-2020, 12:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laughingboy68 View Post
2. I often take the challenge of using a new theoretical device in a song.

3. I will sometimes shamelessly steal one device from a song I love....It gives the writing process some direction and no one will be able to tell where you “borrowed” from.
These two things often help me. Substitute "different tuning" or "different playing style" (e.g. finger picked rather than strummed) for theoretical device. Just pick something you don't normally do or are just learning and see if a song suggest itself from that.

And borrowing/stealing doesn't even have to be from a song you love. Just take a riff, melody or chord progression you heard and use it as a starting point. I've even gone as far as to take the whole "feel" of a song and try to write something similar. In the end, it's not similar at all but incorporates elements I want.
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  #26  
Old 01-25-2020, 09:09 PM
Laughingboy68 Laughingboy68 is offline
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Try these suggestions:

1. Give yourself permission to write imperfect songs. Make them as good as you can right now, but perfect can be the enemy of good.

2. I will sometimes use something that I’ve recently learned in music theory as a starting point. For instance, I learned what chromatic mediants are and then tried to write a song using that idea. Another topic could be using various secondary dominant chords or other borrowed chords to spice up familiar progressions. The added melodic motion often inspires.

3. Sometimes I will shamelessly steal one part of a song that I love. Nothing too obvious, but maybe a rhyme scheme, a melodic contour (maybe inverted or played in a minor key), or a rhythmic syncopation. It gives you a starting framework rather than a blank page.

4. Keep a notebook to write down phrases you hear that grab your ear. Record new things that you play on your phone. These things accumulate and then might be the spark that drives creative momentum.

5. First thing in the morning, write a full page of stream of consciousness expression in a journal. Don’t think, don’t worry about spelling, grammar or sentence structure; just let it flow. It works as a creative exercise to get your brain to stop listening to your internal editor - who can be the killer of good ideas. Sometimes looking back on your journal sheets, you’ll find a gem of an idea; a rhyme, a metaphor, a phrase, some alliteration - something that will inspire creativity. The more you do this the better you’ll get at it.

6. I’ve found that a great source of original inspiration for melody and harmony is to sing into a device like a TC Helicon Harmony G-XT pedal .
Sorry Sean, just kidding.
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  #27  
Old 01-26-2020, 12:10 AM
jeanray1113 jeanray1113 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mbroady View Post
This might not help with organizational aspects of songwriting, but the best advise I ever received is allow your self to suck as a writer. It’s ok to write crappy songs as long as you are writing. This shuts the editor off. And every now and then you will surprise yourself with a song that does not suck

I have loads of crappy songs. But I now have a collection of songs that I feel proud of. They would never have been written if I did not allow my self to write the crappy ones. And some of the crappy ones have potential to improve.
This is wonderful, and so true. Are you a fan of Anne Lamott, by any chance? In her book on writing, Bird by Bird, she recommends writing “****ty first drafts.”
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  #28  
Old 01-26-2020, 05:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeanray1113 View Post
This is wonderful, and so true. Are you a fan of Anne Lamott, by any chance? In her book on writing, Bird by Bird, she recommends writing “****ty first drafts.”
I am not familiar with the name. That does not mean the person who gave me the advice is not. I will check out the book, thanks
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  #29  
Old 01-26-2020, 08:44 AM
ryanspadafora ryanspadafora is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeanray1113 View Post
This is wonderful, and so true. Are you a fan of Anne Lamott, by any chance? In her book on writing, Bird by Bird, she recommends writing “****ty first drafts.”
I second this recommendation. Bird by Bird is a fantastic book. I'll throw one more book out there at the risk of creating a distracting reading list:

Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way has some interesting insights and practices to help artists get out of their own way. But again, reading books can become a rabbit hole of excuses to avoid the thing that we fear most - the work.
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  #30  
Old 01-26-2020, 08:51 AM
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Not nearly what I should have been doing
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