All About Songwriting

Your #1 Songwriting Resource

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Why You Should Collaborate With Other Songwriters

Here’s a songwriting tip for you all… Sometimes, two (or more) heads are better than one when writing a song.

Songwriting doesn’t have to be something that you have to do by yourself. Some of the greatest songs ever were written by two or more people.

Examples of these great songwriting teams are:

  • Elton John/Bernie Taupin
  • Hal David/Burt Bacharach
  • Mick Jagger/Keith Richards
  • John Lennon/Paul McCartney

Working in collaboration with another songwriter can be the most rewarding thing that you can do for your songwriting process and there are a few reasons for this.

1. You can be challenged by somebody else
Some people relish the opportunity to work alone but for the most part it can be pretty lonely and un-motivating working by yourself.

Working with others keeps us honest and there is a joy in being spurred on by someone else to be your best.

2. You can cover more strengths
Maybe you are strong with lyrics and not so strong with melody or arrangements. If you choose a collaborator that has strengths in other areas then imagine what songs you can come up with?

I bet you they will be songs that you will both be happy with.

3. Brainstorming is much more fun with a collaborator
The concept of brainstorming for songwriting ideas is most effective when there are more than one songwriter participating. When you have someone else to bounce ideas off of the songwriting process seems to run more smoothly.

4. You can double the experience that you can write about
You and your collaborator are both individuals with different experiences. The amount of scope you have to write about expands.

5. You get exposed to new songwriting ideas
Working with someone else can be very eye opening. I can guarantee you that you will learn something new every time you and your collaborator get together.

6. It’s a great way to network and meet new people
You can collaborate with people that you know or you can seek a collaborator by looking on different songwriting forums, websites and organisations from all over the world.

They don’t even have to be in the same room, even in the same town or even country because you can use services like Skype to write songs. I’ve done this in the past and some songs I’m proud of have been written this way.

One of the most important thing about working with a collaborator is to have open and honest communication with each other especially after the song is written and it’s time to work out the songwriting percentages because there’s nothing that destroys a songwriting team faster than the feeling that credit is not being given where it’s due.

If you are feeling like your songwriting is in a bit of a rut, go and write with other people for a while, you wont regret it.

As a matter of fact, I’m up for a bit of song collaboration so contact me and see what we can do together.

Until next time, keep on writing

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

The Joys Of Rewriting Your Songs

Nile Rogers once said “…I know how to write and rewrite songs, and the genius is really in the rewriting.” This statement is something that I totally agree with.

I reckon, if you’re at the stage with writing your song where you need to go through it and start revisiting parts to ensure that you’re happy with it, then you’re almost at the end of the songwriting process and your song will be the better for the rewriting.

However, I didn’t always think of the rewriting part of the songwriting process in such high regard. When I was starting out on my songwriting journey, I was one of those songwriters that didn’t really like the idea of rewriting my songs.

I had heard stories of great songs that “almost wrote themselves,” and hit songs that were written in ten minutes and in one sitting and because of these stories I was under the impression that all great songs must be divinely inspired and that songs which needed to be rewritten and are hard work to complete must be doomed to failure.

I used to think that once a song is completed, that was it. To me, the concept of rewriting something that came from my heart and my soul somehow meant that I had failed in getting my message across as a songwriter.

Not so.

I was introduced to the concept of rewriting songs a while back through a writer friend of mine while having a conversation comparing the creative activities of songwriters and authors.

I told him my philosophy that once a song was completed I would just leave it and go on to the next song.

My friend then proceeded to tell me that in his world, the average word-count for a novel is between 60 and 100 thousand words. Plus, add to the mix the fact that normally he would need to complete at least three drafts of a manuscript before submitting it to a publisher.

Compared to what I did as a songwriter, there was a lot of work involved in creating the end result and I was resisting the concept of rewriting a four minute song.

What I got from the conversation was that there should be an extra step in my songwriting process. The editing/rewriting stage.

He then continued to make the point that songwriters, like authors, should look at their creations as a series of drafts. Some songs will need less editing and some will need more.

This started to make a lot of sense to me.

That conversation was a few years ago now but since then, I’ve pulled out all of my old songbooks and unreleased demo recordings I’ve made and started to go through every song I’ve ever (half) written, looking for ways in which these songs can be improved upon.

Through doing this exercise I’ve discovered that:

1. There’s always one or two lines of a song that can be strengthened. When I read through an old song and notice myself cringing at a line, that’s the time to change it for something better.

2. Older songs that I’ve written where my musical knowledge was much more limited benefit greatly with the musical knowledge I have now

3. Some of my songs were crying out for a bridge or a pre-chorus that I had not even considered before.

4. Some of my songs needed to be simplified and in doing so other songs were written from that.

When you think about it, your songbook is the aural version of a photographers portfolio. It’s always good songwriting practise to look over your completed songs from time to time with a new set of ears and edit and adjust as necessary.

It’s done wonders for my songs.

This exercise is still something that I continue to do to this day. When I’m feeling a little stuck on something I go through my old stuff to find new inspiration.

So, what do you think is the purpose of a songwriting process? Is it a competition to write a song in the shortest space of time and on the first attempt? Or, does it exist to facilitate the creation of the best song possible at the time with all of the information and tools at your disposal?

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

Songwriting – The Blank Page Is Your Friend

Every time we write a song we start off with a blank page.

It sits there and waits patiently for us to pick up our pen and pour out our songwriting ideas from our hearts and minds onto its surface however, a blank page can mean one of two things to a songwriter.

It can either be something to be fearful of, a scary journey into the unknown, the graveyard of yet another “bad” song or, it can be a doorway to infinite songwriting idea possibilities.

Let me ask you this.

Are you free to create whatever you want, whenever you want without second guessing, self-censorship or prejudice on your part? Or, are you a songwriter that feels shackled by the belief that you must obtain some sort of quantifiable result every time you put your pen to paper?

Which headspace would you rather be in?

I know that I’m asking a lot of questions here but as songwriters, this is something we face every time we sit down to write a song and as our answers to these questions are automatic and unconscious, we wonder why at times we don’t write anything.

This is when we start blaming things like songwriters block.

So, try this the next time you sit down to write a song. Look at that blank page in front of you as your friend and playmate.

You see, just the very thought of sitting down to write a song means that there is possibility that the muse will knock on your door and ask if you can come out to play.

Remind yourself that writing a song can be one or more of these three experiences:

  • A linear experience – You come across a possible song title that jumps out at you and after writing the first line of the first verse, a first draft is suddenly completed from start to finish.
  • A puzzle solving exercise – You take a piece here, a song title there, a bit of a verse here and a half written phrase there and, after discovering the common thread that connects everything, a song is eventually completed.
  • Like incubating an egg – You finish writing a chorus but find you can’t go any further however, after leaving the half finished song for a period of time something triggers in your mind and the song magically completes itself.

Sometimes you start writing a song from the beginning and work forwards, sometimes you start a song from the middle and work outwards and sometimes you start writing at the end and work backwards.

When it comes to songwriting, it doesn’t matter where you start, as long as you start somewhere.

Just remember, a blank page is not proof that you’ve not written a song. It’s merely the doorway to an infinite world of songwriting idea possibilities and all you need to do is have the courage to walk through it, regardless of the outcome.

So get out of your own way and allow yourself to be free to create.

Okay, how is that blank page looking now?

Until next time, just keep writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

Songwriting – A Way To Experience Life

To increase your songwriting ability it’s necessary to increase your life experience, and that means getting out of your comfort zone and embracing what life has to offer you.

Imagine having the confidence to fully experience life with the knowledge that there could be a great song awaiting as a result of the risk being taken. That’s a mighty powerful way of looking at life.

A prime example of a situation that can benefit from this way of thinking is the awkward beginnings of falling in love. So many people don’t take the risk of falling in love for the fear of getting hurt.

My argument is that if you are committed to songwriting as a way to experience life then it is your duty as a songwriter to take the risk and just go with it.

If it works then you have some great songs to write, if it doesn’t work then you still have some great songs to write with perhaps a bit of therapy thrown in for good measure.

With an attitude like that how can you lose?

Going out of your way to fully experience life doesn’t mean having to endure mammoth changes or extreme tragedy. It’s the little things that you can do to break the habits and routines of our lives that make all the difference.

Here are some other examples of little things you can do to get more out of life and therefore get more out of your songwriting.

  • Go see a movie by yourself
  • Take a long walk on the beach
  • Go for a drive
  • Call a friend you haven’t spoken too in ages
  • Strike up a conversation with a complete stranger
  • Catch public transport
  • Go to a cafe and write (or start writing) in your journal
  • Smile at people and watch their reactions
  • Meditate and listen
  • Go skydiving (Optional – I can understand if people find this a little extreme)

Generally, we try so hard to control everything in our life so we don’t experience anything that we would consider as bad. By choosing songwriting as a way to experience life, we can relax and allow our lives to unfold before our eyes, and then write a song about it.

If you look at your life this way you will never have to say “I don’t have anything to write about” ever again.

What do you think about songwriting as a way to experience more out of life?

What aspect of your life can you do different today? How would that change affect you? Can you write a song about it?

Just remember (even if it is for the sake of your songwriting process), don’t ever be afraid to fully experience your life, choose it.

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

What Does Songwriting Mean To You?

Let’s look at the word SONGWRITING for a minute. The dictionary meaning of the word is the “… writing the music and words of songs.”

Now that should give us a clue but I think the definition it goes deep enough. I reckon the meaning of the word SONGWRITING should be something like…

“The process in which a song is created using words and melody”

The word itself is comprised of two words, song and writing. The song part is the end result of a process and the writing part is the process itself.

Get it… Without the writing there is no song.

It seems like a simple concept doesn’t it? But it’s amazing how many songs aren’t written. They are started but never finished.

You see, you can talk all you like about verses, choruses, middle-eights, bridges, pre-choruses, the length of the intro and hooks and so on but without the physical activity of writing the song, all of that theory is meaningless.

Personally, songwriting is much, much more than the song itself. The act of writing a song is a whole process in itself. It’s a discipline, a meditation and for me, a way of life.

Without a songwriting process, a song (being the end result of the process) would not exist at all.

If we, as songwriters didn’t have our own songwriting process, then all of our thoughts, feelings and songwriting ideas will become random, haphazard and lacking in organisation.

How would you be able to maintain a creative and sustainable songwriting environment with all that disorganisation going on?

In future posts I will be writing about how you can create, adopt and manage your own songwriting process and in turn write more songs rather than just waiting for inspiration to come your way. Plus, I’ll be giving you insights as to how I write songs.

What does songwriting and the process involved in writing a song mean to you? Feel free to let me know as we all have something to learn from each other.

Pablo Picasso once said that “… inspiration exists, but it has to find you working” and I think that sums everything I’ve been trying to say in this post nicely.

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

The Five Pillars Of The Songwriting Process

A songwriting process is defined as “… a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end,” the end of course being the completion of a song.

Songs are what makes the global music industry go round and the more that songwriters are empowered and educated about their own brand of songwriting process, the better off the music business will be.

How you write your songs, from the initial spark of a songwriting idea to the final stroke of your pen, all comes down to how you work your songwriting process.

Now, there are as many variations to the songwriting process are there are songwriters in the world as the songwriting process is a very individual thing however, I believe there are five main pillars to a songwriting process and how those pillars are handled is dependent on the individual songwriter.

Your songwriting process will depend on your handling of these five pillars creating the foundation of your songwriting process.

Pillar #1 – YOU! The Songwriter
This pillar deals with the songwriter, what goes on between the ears and the environment they choose to work in because A song can’t be written if you’re not there to write it.

A songwriter’s process always starts with their state of mental physical and spiritual health. A good state of health means a healthy output of songs.

Pillar #2 – The Foundation
Any creation requires a process to allow it to happen. This pillar is all about the creation of the the foundation/process to gain opportunities for inspiration/work on creating a song. It’s important to create the right environment to be open to songwriting ideas as they spring up at anytime.

Pillar #3 – The Creation
This Pillar is all about the actual writing of the song from a songwriting idea to a first draft completion. It’s all about the creation of something from nothing. A song can be created from a number of means either individually or together at the same time.

Pillar #4 – The Revision
This pillar is all about the song revision process. Once a song is written is it the end of the process? No.

Good songwriters will revise and rewrite their song to make sure that the song is the best it can be. They will also know when it’s time to stop revising and start finishing. This is where the inner critic can form a positive role within the songwriting process.

Pillar #5 – The Business
This section is all about the business of songwriting. What will be the reason for the song’s existence? Is it to be played at gigs? Is it for another artist? Is it a therapeutic/cathartic experience or, is it a stepping stone to the next song?

All intentions for the end result are valid and need to be taken into consideration as part of the songwriting process.

If you pay attention to these five things you’ll find that you’ll be a more productive, efficient, creative and self aware songwriter.

You’ll finish more songs than you start and you’ll not be afraid of songwriters block, procrastination or your inner critic, whichever comes first.

This blog will cover all of the many facets of these five pillars through created and curated content. If you have any questions you want answered regarding your songwriting process or, you have your own experiences you want to share please let me know, I’d love to hear from you about this all important aspect of songwriting

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

All About Songwriting – The Very First Post

Hi there, my name is Corey Stewart and I’m a singer/songwriter, musician and blogger from Australia and songwriting is a craft, an art-form, a process, an emotional outlet and (most importantly) a way of life for me.

I’ve created All About Songwriting to help all songwriters anywhere, at any level, expand on what songwriting knowledge they already have or, to help beginning songwriters start off their journey in a positive direction.

All About Songwriting is my attempt to document all of the aspects of songwriting, musicianship and the creative process in general that I have either directly experienced myself through being a songwriter for most of my life or, from what I’ve discovered online along the way through hand picked/curated articles and other sources of relevant information.

On a personal note, I want this blog is to be constantly reminding me of why I write songs in the first place.

Now it’s a well known fact that great songs are the backbone of the music industry. I mean without them there would be no music industry to speak of… Right? THAT is how important the role of the songwriter is in the whole scheme of things.

I feel it’s really important that songwriters have the best information at their fingertips as this enables them to be the best songwriters that they can be and it’s because of this that my goal is to have All About Songwriting become one of the most trusted sources of songwriting information on the web.

This site can only develop in the long term with direct input from its readers (that means YOU), so if now or in the future, there are any questions that you may have about songwriting, musicianship, the creative process, or anything else for that matter, just let me know and I will do my very best to answer you.

In the meantime, I wish you all well on your respective songwriting journeys, no matter where it takes you. Let’s take this first step together… RIGHT NOW!

Until next time, just keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

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