Your goal as a songwriter is to keep your songwriting ideas alive at all times and at the same time, developing ways to capture those ideas at any given opportunity.

With that being said, my advice to you is to never trust your memory. If you do, you’ll lose more ideas than you gain and at the end of the day, your songwriting process is all about maintaining the flow of ideas.

Our brains are amazing things. They can soak up information and store things away however, as we get older, we start to forget. Our internal filing system starts to break down and it seems that we need to let some of the old stuff go so we can let the new stuff in.

Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way calls this concept the filling of the well.

I liken this concept to the syphoning of liquid. Once you get the initial flow established it then becomes constant. By emptying your mind onto paper or playing your ideas onto tape you’re making space for other ideas to come into being. It’s like you’re creating a vacuum for the new ideas to appear out of the ether.

Your ability to create a constant flow is determined by how much you’re able to accept any songwriting idea that appears before you.

Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones said once that he was merely the channel for a song to come into existence.

It’s was like he was the transmitter and through him, the song was able to be received by the listener.

Remember, if at anytime you think of something that could even be minutely used in a song, write it down, record it onto tape or even ring your home phone number and leave the idea on your answering machine (I’ve done that a few times to great effect).

Do anything to keep your songwriting ideas alive. Your future songs depend on it.

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting