The Process of Songwriting

Maybe a better title for this post would have been “My Songwriting Process” because there is no single process that works for everybody. Writing, whether it’s a song, a novel, or a screenplay, is a personal journey. How you do it, where you do it, and when you do it varies from one writer to the next. Some of us are regimental in our approach and others write erratically. In the end all that matters is the finished product, right?

I write all the time. It comes naturally. I don’t always produce something of value, but writing is a part of who I am. As a result, my mind is always taking in my surroundings, analyzing what it finds, and sending out the signals necessary for creation.

I enjoy writing late at night, but it doesn’t have to be that way. I write anytime there’s something I need to express. When an idea hits me I work on it. If I can’t work on it right then, I make a note somewhere and get to it as soon as possible. It’s important to have always have a way to capture the essence of an idea. No matter how good it is, not writing it down somewhere means you risk letting it slip away. There’s a belief that if an idea is good enough it will stick with you, but with the constant influx of information and events we encounter daily, it’s no surprise even the best ideas get lost in the shuffle. There’s just no reason to let a good idea get away.

I write in my studio/office. That’s the best place for me. My instruments are there and I’m isolated. This is where my serious writing sessions take place. I might work in another room if I’m alone, or I might sit outside with an acoustic guitar on a really nice day, but for the most part it’s my studio/office. I love being surrounded by my stuff.

I’m a technology junkie, so I’ve tried almost every writing and recording product (software and apps) on the market. If you want to know about any of them, I’m the guy to ask. In the end, though, pencil and paper are all you need to write a song. It doesn’t matter if you write a simple chord/lyric sheet or fully notate your songs, a pencil and paper will do the trick. That doesn’t mean to avoid using fancy software or apps. I’m just saying the inability to afford that stuff is not a reason to skip writing. If you can’t afford recording/mixing software or a recording device, find a cheap tape recorder or download one of the many free apps available (I’ll blog some of these later). There’s always a way. The main thing is to write. However you choose to do it, make a point of doing it.

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