It’s a known fact that winning the conversations that you have with your inner voice on a daily basis is one of the main keys to getting the most out of your songwriting process.
For me, writing down my thoughts by keeping a journal is one of the best strategies I’ve found to keep my inner voice in check.
I’ve also found that there needs to be some conditions attached to this exercise to enable it to work effectively and those conditions are:
1. A journal entry has to be done every day – Believe me, the appointment you make with yourself to write in your journal will be the most important one in your day.
2. Set a minimum word (or page) target – My minimum personal writing target is one A4 page and with practise, I achieve this goal easily. What’s one A4 page? You’ll be able to do that too.
3. Grab a coffee and start writing anything that comes to mind – Allow your writing to be good, bad or indifferent. Let go of any need for the writing to be perfect.
4. Pay attention to what your inner voice is saying to you as you write – I try to incorporate my inner voice in my journal entry which then enables me to look forward to these daily arguments with myself.
5. When you have reached your word (or page) target, STOP – You’ve achieved your goal… Well done.
6. Go onto something else – Get on with the rest of your day knowing that the most important thing you’ll do for the day is done.
You’ll find that as you start writing your inner voice will begin to chatter away in its attempt to distract you from the task at hand.
It’s amazing what it will say to stop you from being creative however, instead of succumbing to the temptation to stop what you’re doing, just keep going and plough through the noise.
Believe me, it will be very difficult at first but you will eventually free yourself of self doubt and in its place will become a flow of ideas, confidence and inspiration.
I should know because I’ve been doing this myself.
I have been journaling and now, blogging for years but it wasn’t until I started reading “The Artists Way” by Julia Cameron (a must for any songwriter) that I realised the power of writing down my thoughts on a daily basis.
In the book the first thing she talks about is a concept called The Morning Pages.
The Morning Pages are three A4 pages of automatic writing that you do (preferably) first thing in the morning and boy, what a powerful tool it is for collecting lyrical ideas.
It is important to note that, to also gain the most benefit from this exercise, it must be done every day.
Writing songs is a craft, a discipline that require the songwriter to let go of any outcomes and become at one with the words that they write.
“So whats next?” I hear you ask.
Well, let’s start a little experiment shall we? My suggestion is to start writing down your thoughts today and keep writing them for a period of seven days. It can be on paper or on your computer, it doesn’t matter.
If you like, you can treat yourself by buying a really nice notebook for this experiment. You deserve it.
After a week of putting down your thoughts, feelings, hopes, dreams, fears, aspirations and inner conversations, have a look at what you have written.
Chances are you’ll see a lot of crap but I guarantee you, hidden away in all of that crap will be some amazing lyrical ideas that will jump out at you and demand your attention.
Sometimes you have have to dig through the dirt to find the diamonds in your own backyard. Let’s see how you go with the experiment.
Until next time, happy writing,
All About Songwriting