Do you keep a journal? If not, you really should. I should know, I used to keep one myself but now that 2017 has arrived I think it’s about time I started journaling again.

I want to start journaling again because I found that it was one of the best ways to keep my songwriting process flowing with boundless creativity.

Now, a journal means many things to many people. It can be a detailed snapshot of daily life as portrayed in the film Bridget Jones’ Diary or, it can be more of a stream of consciousness thing as mentioned in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way.

Personally, I prefer the cathartic nature of writing in a stream of consciousness and besides, it tends to be a much more effective way of collecting songwriting ideas. Just being able to empty my brain of all its information accumulated throughout the day onto a blank piece of paper is pure freedom.

I once looked at my journal as a loyal friend who’s always there to listen to my problems and share in my hopes, dreams, questions, thoughts, feelings and aspirations. This year, I want to reacquaint myself with that friend again.

Some people I know keep a journal electronically while others are old school and write their journal by hand. I fall into the old school category. I really find the physical act of writing down whatever’s on my mind a liberating experience.

The more I write, the more weight lifts off my shoulders. The more I clear my mind of its trivial clutter, the more room I’ll create for all the new songwriting ideas I’ll come across along the way.

I know that writing in my journal every day will enable me to get to know myself a whole lot better and to fully examine what I’m doing in and with my life.

From my previous journaling experience, I’ve always been amazed by the sheer volume of information I can accumulate. I was constantly proving to myself every day that I had something to write about.

I know that when I started re-reading my entries after four to six weeks of journaling I started glimpsing some inspirational flashes here and there and of course, these flashes are the beginnings of new songs.

I want to get back to the stage where

The longer I read my journal entries the initial flashes of inspiration I experience at the beginning start turning into songwriting ideas that pop up from the page and grab me by the scruff of my neck.

I know this happens because I would hear myself thinking “wow, that would make a great song title” or “wow, I really like that line.”

It’s at this time my highlighting pen becomes my best friend. I start highlighting all the good stuff

I’ve been a regular journal writer for many years and the inspiration to keep a journal waxes and wanes but my re-reading process has always been the same.

After a few weeks of journalling I re-read my entries and furiously highlight all of the potential songwriting ideas and then work on them at a later date.

I’m constantly amazed at how easily a song manifests itself to me by doing this technique. It’s really wonderful what you come up with when you just allow yourself to write.

If you’re already writing a journal then keep at it but if you are thinking of giving journalling a go just do it. Start it today and I promise you, you’ll not regret it one little bit.

Until next time, happy (journal) writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting