As a writer, some days, a song seems to just flow out. You sit down, you start working and everything just falls perfectly into place. From start to finish it just works. Obviously, not every day is like that, in fact most aren’t.
You play with some chords, write a really solid top line and get a verse and chorus down. It’s sounding exactly how you had imagined and you know, with a few other tracks in the mix it’s going to be a great song. But then, bang… you hit a wall and no matter how hard you try to persevere, climb over it, tunnel under it or smash straight through it, no matter how many times you play the track back on loop trying to hear, feel and write the next section or find the perfect chords for the bridge, it just won’t come.
You think it’s a good song, in fact you know it’s a great song, you can feel it. You just NEED to finish it. So you try to push through and complete your creation.
More often than not, this leads to immense frustration. What started out feeling like a really successful writing session quickly becomes over shadowed by an overwhelming sense that you just can’t progress and finish. It’s very easy to loose control and let this lucid determination to finish take over, you start to rush out forced ideas in order to achieve completion. Obviously, when you listen back to this rushed work, you are just not happy with it. Even if you have battled through to the end of the song, it just doesn’t click and you don’t feel good about it. You know that it’s just not on par with the rest of the song. In turn, this leads back to the feeling of great frustration and you go back through this whole negative cycle, until you finally just give up on the song all together. At this point, you are on the edge of throwing your computer across the room, dismissing your song as rubbish and that awesome feeling of enthusiasm and excitement you had that put you on top of the world is gone.
So how do you deal with it, how do you break out of this cycle? Its simple, its so easy, you do absolutely nothing! Well, at least to start with, anyway. Let me explain. First, there are a few things to always remember when song writing, for a start, every day is different. Writing is such an organic, malleable process, that you can find yourself both loving and hating an idea within 5 minutes of writing it! Although it is a very important and a valuable skill to be able to write even when nothing seems to be going to plan, especially when writing to a deadline, but knowing when to stop is just as important. Take that great idea you have come up with and park it. Leave it there for a day, a week or even a year, coming back to check up on it once in a while.
You’ll be amazed at what your brain manages to do in the background while your not there! Come back to the song when you feel it is right, with fresh ears and a fresh mind. It can take a great deal of self-control, but you will be amazed at what a bit of patience and doing nothing can achieve! With that in mind, don’t beat yourself up just because you can’t progress with or finish a song. Always try to focus on the positive, if you come up with a great idea for a song, whether it’s a chord sequence, a hook, a melody, whatever it may be and no matter how small it may seem, its still a great idea, even if you cant work it into a whole song just yet.
That word, ‘yet’ is so important, with time and a bit of patience, that idea will become a song as great as it deserves to be, so hold tight and save your computer! And when you finally finish it, you will be so grateful that you took your time, practiced patience and that you didn’t go with the first idea you came up with after an hour of sitting there banging your head against a brick wall and rhyming glove with love!
Peace, love and happy writing,