Recently, I was chatting to a songwriter friend of mine about the pain he experiences while writing songs.
He said that he’s great at starting songs but lousy at finishing them (well, aren’t we all).
He also told me the main philosophy for his songwriting process is, “if the song is not perfect then the song isn’t worth finishing.”
WTF! No wonder he’s experiencing the pain of songwriters block.
I think that the concept of “if the song is not perfect then the song isn’t worth finishing” is something that’s more common among songwriters than we care to admit.
So, allow me to be a little blunt here. This struggle for songwriting perfection kills people.
It kills their creativity, kills their inspiration and sometimes (in extreme circumstances) the drive to perfection can kill a person physically.
There is a huge difference between being driven to write great songs and being driven to write perfect songs.
In my reply to his statement I said “…why don’t you try not to see songwriting as a means to an end (the hit song) but as a way of letting yourself go?”
As songwriters, how much pressure do we put yourselves under? A lot!
Is it worth it? NO!
The notion of songwriting perfection in anything is but a mere illusion. It’s created by the ego and massaged into existence by insecurity, jealousy, doubt, low self esteem and shame.
Songwriting should be a celebration of life, of letting yourself go, setting yourself free and playing around with your creativity. It’s not about reminding yourself how inadequate you are because you compare yourself needlessly to other songwriters.
Always remember that there’s not another one of you on this planet so therefore your experiences, your thoughts, your insights, your feelings, your dreams, your desires, your observations and the way that you question life, universe and everything around it are uniquely yours, and yours alone.
What does that mean? It means that…
1. There is no point in comparing yourself to others as there is no one else but you to compare yourself to in the first place
2. Being the unique creature that you are whatever you say is always very, very important.
The concept of perfection would only exist if there was something perfect to aspire to in the first place.
Now granted, there have been some amazing songs written in the past and there will be amazing songs that have not yet been written in the future, but none of those songs are “perfect” and they never, ever will be.
We, like our songwriting, are all works in progress.
Until next time, keep on writing,
All About Songwriting