Come with an open mind! This will be the last songwriting guide you’ll ever need.
A lot of us find ourselves out of, the flow, a place with no ideas, energy, or passion. This can be very discouraging, especially when you’ve experienced how very fun songwriting is, in the flow. When you’re in the flow everything comes naturally, effortlessly, and you feel like the songwriting King or Queen that you are. So when it comes to writing a song, as a songwriter, you want to take a different approach than you would with regular writing. Now, I would give you a list full of songwriting prompts, but honestly, none of that would matter.
Why? because anything you create when you’re not in the flow(no matter how great!),will never truly touch your listener’s, which is your job as a songwriter.
What I’m telling you is not new, you see this in everyday life when you hear mainstream songs, with very simple wording, capture their audience. Those songs are not particularly the best written, or sung with the most talented voice but something about it makes people feel drawn.
A lot of people don’t give mainstream songs a chance, but, every popular song that you don’t like is actually a chance for you to figure out what makes a song great to people. Listen to the song, look at it from their perspective, and you will experience something new. The state of being you are in, when you look at things from a different point of view is, the flow. In the flow, is where you create things that even you, your hardest critic, consider greatness.
A great real life example of an artist who knew how to tap into the flow, is a famous classic that will always remain in history, Beethoven. According to this quote from biography.com “From 1803 to 1812, what is known as his “middle” or “heroic” period, Beethoven composed an opera, six symphonies, four solo concerti, five string quartets… six-string sonatas, seven piano sonatas, five sets of piano variations, four overtures, four trios, two sextets and 72 songs.
Now that is a mouthful! I can only imagine the time, passion, and hard work dedicated to all of this work within a span of just 9 years. I’m not telling you this to discourage you, I’m telling you this so that you understand songwriting is an enjoyable thing, and this is something that you can actually easily achieve. You’ve just never been told how, some people tap into it naturally, some people learned by accident, and some people never really speak about the process.
Now I will admit, when you start writing as a child it’s more advantageous, because it’s usually easier to keep doing it as you grow up, especially since you naturally become better at it. It’s also true that anyone can start, and be a great songwriter. I’ve come to realize that most adults struggle, because they’ve never been told a personal perspective of what it’s like when you first start so they have a false vision of what is supposed to happen, then they quit just when the greatness was about to spark.
Now see, the word spark is important, because a lot of people mistake the spark for the grand finale, when really it’s just a hint that you’re on the right direction, and to trust the process. It’s kind of like riding a bicycle, once you get the hang of it you never really forget, and the things you did in the beginning becomes the foundation for all the tricks, and turns.
Next, I will go into details about what the flow is, and then I will teach you how to tap in that state of mind on command. By learning this skill writing music will be enjoyable, easy as riding a bike.
The flow, is a short way of explaining the space you find yourself in emotionally, and mentally, when you free yourself to create. It’s where you give yourself permission to create without judgment, or control. This is what a lot of people describe as “tapping into your creative energy”. This is why video games, and board games are so popular. It gives people the freedom to tap into their creative energy, and there’s nothing more fun than that. A great example would be like “GTA-Grand Theft Auto” or Monopoly.
Anything you create when you’re not in “the flow”, won’t make the impact that a song written inside the flow do. Everything is about energy. By that I mean, your energy has to be as present as possible, at the moment. That way, you can really interact with the music (and by that I mean acknowledging the emotions that you want to express from the images/memories you see in your head) and ultimately this will give birth to your creative energy, with words.
Fun fact! Beethoven is not the first artist to have composed a lot of work. Think about the top artists/songwriters of this decade. With a google search Eminem comes up and he has released 330 songs so far, not including bootlegs, leaks, or mix tapes. Keyword: release, not written.
The second is Beyoncé, it is known that she writes but there’s no possible way for me to get a real number right now. She has however, spoken in interviews on how she would watch Michael Jackson growing up. She said a lot of other artists would put Michael on another level so they don’t even attempt to try to have his kind of impact but she decided to see it as an inspiration. Look at where she is now!
Which brings me to my conclusion; every songwriter learns this, and understanding this will uncover your creativity. You’re not a songwriter until you see yourself as a songwriter. Songwriting, is not something you have to go to school to learn. Songwriters learn how to write songs by writing songs. Yes! The more you write, the better you will get at it, that’s a fact. It’s also true, that you’re already great now.
You’re having writer’s block, because you believe that there’s such a thing as “writer’s block”. Writer’s block, is really just another way to describe the lack of patience you’re feeling. This usually happens when you feel rushed, or when you have a lot on your mind, in that case it’s better to take care of what is bothering you before trying to focus on writing.
This knowledge may not all process at once, and you may still feel like something is wrong. What you’re feeling, may stop you from tapping into the flow. Your energy may have been compromised. Here, I have listed some tips to get you relaxed and back in the flow. Also, here you will find writing questions to get your imagination spinning.