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Tag: songwriting ideas

Songwriting Ideas Are Infinite And Sacred

My first piece of advice that I would give to any beginning songwriter is… “Never throw anything away, EVER!”

Just think, that piece of paper that you’ve thrown in the bin with some half finished lyrics penned the night before might have contained the ideas for THE song that defines you as a performer, artist or songwriter.

All it might’ve needed was a few re-writes either by yourself or, maybe with a collaborator (or two).

As a songwriter you must keep all of your scraps of paper, nonsensical ramblings on your phone and your audio snippets on your computer because songwriting ideas are infinite and sacred all at the same time.

Just hear me out here…

First of all, songwriting ideas are infinite because they are absolutely everywhere. You just have to allow yourself to be open and perceptive to them.

One songwriter may see a falling leaf and not think twice about it while another songwriter may see that same leaf as a metaphor for freedom and write a song about it.

If you take the view that songwriting ideas are infinite then you cease being protective of the songs you have already written. You then allow your songs to truly breathe, and come into being which will then lead to those songs being listened to and performed.

It also stops yourself having the view that everything that you write has to be perfect.

Remember, if you write a song that you are not sure of, don’t throw it away, just leave it and go onto something else because you’ll always think of another songwriting idea (if you allow yourself that is).

Secondly, songwriting ideas are sacred because they come from you and only you.

That alone is a reason to keep everything you write because, when you think about it, throwing away a songwriting idea is throwing away a part of you.

You should always be proud of what you create whether you feel they are good, bad or indifferent.

The good songs are the ones you perform as they are a gift from yourself to yourself.

The not so good songs should be acknowledged as the stepping stones that they are and besides, you can always go back to them later. Maybe with some more life experience under your belt plus a fresher set of eyes and ears (or maybe a collaborator) a song you’ll be proud of, will come from it.

It’s okay to write a song about world peace. It’s okay to write a song about love and it’s also okay to write a song about a falling leaf.

As long as it comes from you that’s all that matters.

Besides, if you allow yourself to be truly receptive of the world around you, you’re never going to run out of songwriting ideas.

Exciting isn’t it?

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

My Take On Rewriting Older Songs

Lately I’ve been looking over my old songbooks, half finished songwriting ideas and my recording archives to see if there are any thing that I can rewrite, reboot, update or restore in any way. Sometimes I get inspired by this exercise but for most of the time I don’t.

For me, it very much depends on what is currently going on in my life and how I’m feeling at the time because this exercise requires me to listen to these old songs with a fresh pair of ears.

This is a challenge as I inadvertently put my old songs and ideas into concrete and this makes it very hard to rewrite them in any other way. In fact, any rewriting of old songs is considered a little victory for me.

So, when it comes to the difficulty in rewriting old songs it’s nice to know that I keep in good company.

I came across an article by songwriter Tony Conniff titled “Revisiting Earlier Songs… As A More Experienced Writer” and he discusses how the more experience he gains as a songwriter, the more opportunities he has to improve on his earlier songwriting attempts.

On this topic, he says…

It’s a bit of a paradox – my rush forward to write more songs, to gain experience, to get better, has perhaps left holes in some of my past songs (or maybe the holes are there simply because I didn’t know how to plug them at the time…?). But that rush forward to write more songs has also given me the experience to improve things that I thought were settled (but don’t have to be).

Reading Tony’s article has definitely made me feel better about my struggles with revisiting older songs.

What I get from the article is that the more songs that I write, the more experience I gain in honing my craft, and with that knowledge and experience under my belt, the more I can look and hear my older songs with a fresh pair of eyes and ears.

At the very least that is yet another reason never to throw any of your old songs and songwriting ideas away. You never what you can do with them in the future.

Do you have a whole bunch of old song that need revisiting? Maybe reading Tony Conniff’s article will inspire you to take another look. Let me know how you go.

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

Reading The Newspaper For Songwriting Ideas

If writing lyrics is all about manipulating words onto paper, then to be a good lyricist you would need to develop a very healthy respect for the English language and how it can be put together to tell a story, describe a scene or, to put across a point of view.

It would also be handy to become very mindful of what you read, speak, see and hear around you. This would seem like an easy task as words are all around us yet we don’t really see them do we?

Far too often, we take words for granted.

Actively seeking out words does not mean getting out the dictionary and reading it from cover to cover but it does mean increasing the amount of reading that you currently do now.

If you’re like me, you’d be saying to yourself that you have no time to read. My answer to that excuse is “who says you don’t have time?”

As songwriters, we can’t afford not to have the time to read. We need to slow our lives down a bit so we can pick up on what is happening around us. We might just miss out on a songwriting idea if we don’t.

One of the ways that you can increase the amount of reading with very little effort on your part, is to start having your local newspaper delivered to your door.

At the start of every day, get your newspaper and a cup of your favourite beverage and start reading it, taking note of what you read and the pictures that you see. What you’re doing is looking for something that captures your attention, something that jumps out at you and compels you to write a song about it.

A headline may make a great title for a song, a quote may make a good line for a chorus and an articles theme may make a great song story but a word of warning here, newspapers are notoriously full of bad news so don’t get sucked in by all of the negativity.

You’re looking for songwriting ideas, not an excuse to feel sad.

If you’re one of those songwriters who only writes when they’re feeling angry or passionate about something, then reading a newspaper every morning will be the equivalent to finding a vein of gold for you.

For the rest of us its a good opportunity to just take some quiet time out, grab a notepad and pen and allow the ideas to enter us from the freshly printed pages of your daily newspaper.

Until next time, keep on writing (and reading),

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

Keeping Your Songwriting Simple – One Song, One Idea

As songwriters we should always be looking for ways to express what’s inside our minds and our hearts plus, what we observe externally from ourselves.

We also have to balance this need to express ourselves with the fact that we also want others to listen to our songs and relate to, embrace and make those songs a part of their lives.

Right?

So, in saying that, why do we then have the tendency to complicate the messages or statements that we’re trying to convey in our songwriting?

It should be obvious to anyone that by making things too complicated in our songs, how should we expect our listeners, our audience to relate to them?

Songs are generally between three to five minutes in length so there’s only a small window of opportunity to create a lasting impression with your listener.

The best thing that you as a songwriter can do is:

Create an environment in which the listener can immediately understand and relate to what you are trying to say.

Use this as your songwriting mantra…

One song, one idea

One song, one story.

One song, one point of view.

One song, one image.

Allow the listener to focus on your song, not be bamboozled by it.

If you try to introduce more than one idea into the song you start creating mixed messages for the listener. The last thing you want to is to confuse your listener into turning off from your song.

We live in a world in which information is instant. People today demand the information that they receive to be concise, to the point and easy to understand.

Songs, as a medium to convey information and concepts are no different.

Hold the listeners hand through your song and take them on the journey.

Once you have established the point/story/message of the song you have a certain amount of time to really explore that with the listener. This is where the fun begins, this is where your creativity as a songwriter comes into play.

The balance between words and rhythm becomes very important here otherwise the song becomes clumsy and hard to understand.

Here is a songwriting tip for you. Go through your songs and for each one, write down all of the points you are trying to make.

Really analyse your songs to see if you are putting too many messages in them.

If for instance you have a song in which there are three distinct message that you are trying to convey, separate the messages and write three songs about each of them.

For me, if there’s a song in which for some reason I can’t finish, it’s normally because I’m trying to say too much in it. Once I strip it back, the path which completes the song magically appears before me.

Lets see if that happens for you. If it does, let me know.

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

6 Ways You Can Find Songwriting Ideas Everywhere.

I’m a great believer that songwriting ideas are everywhere and all you need to do is to allow yourself to tap into the void and somehow, let the songwriting ideas come to you.

These sentiments are echoed in Erin McAnnally’s wonderful article titled “6 Songwriting Tips for Finding Melodies in the Space Around You” which appeared recently in the songwriting blog SongFancy.

In the article she writes…

There are melodies all around us, even in the silence we may be lucky enough to experience once in a while.It is up to us to harvest them, to memorialize them and to put them to use.

The world and the mind itself can be sources of constant inspiration and provide fruitful and nearly constant ideas if we allow ourselves to listen and create.

Erin then goes on to list the 6 ways that you can find songwriting ideas everywhere around you. Without going into too much detail, they are…

  • Listen to yourself
  • Listen to the world
  • Meditate on a looped track
  • Doodle on your instrument
  • Let words lead you
  • Record everything you find

Essentially what Erin is saying in 6 Songwriting Tips for Finding Melodies in the Space Around You is that you need to stop the world, get off the merry-go-round for a bit and really take the time out to listen to yourself and the world around you.

I also think she’s saying that we also need to be brave enough to walk along paths less travelled and be prepared to experience inconvenient tangents and happy accidents in our quest for new songwriting ideas.

I enjoyed this article very much and found myself nodding my head in agreement while at the same time, feeling vindicated that my views on the infinite and sacred nature of songwriting ideas had resonated with someone else.

What are your views on this matter? Do you think that songwriting ideas reside in the spaces in between and are waiting to be channelled?

Comment below or, let me know what you think. Id love to hear your thoughts

In the meantime, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting


Check out the original link: 6 Songwriting Tips for Finding Melodies in the Space Around You • SongFancy