Have you ever experienced “writer’s block”? It can affect many aspects of our lives, but as songwriters it can really be a pain. As someone who is responsible for the monthly newsletter, it can be just as bad. I really think writer’s block can manifest itself in different aspects of our lives. I know every month I get questions from members about certain subjects clearly printed and contained in the newsletter. So, I start to wonder if anyone is reading what I write or put together every month.
Sometimes we have so much noise going on around us we don’t know where to begin or end when we are writing songs. Somehow these ideas float to all of us in different ways. Some can sit down and write on the spur of the moment. Some have to wait for some spiritual intervention, while some can get ideas driving down the road or taking a shower. Or, there are those lucky few which can do all of these at once.
I have talked to songwriters about their techniques of writing. Some write the lyrics and then follow up with the music. Many do it at the same time. Some start with a melody and find the lyrics later. Or, there are those lucky few who can do each one of these techniques depending on how the wind is blowing.
I was recently invited to talk to a group of poets and story writers in Granbury, TX. Their group’s name ironically is called “Writer’s Bloc”. They wanted me to address the similarities between songwriting, poetry, and writing books. I have written short stories in college and read poetry, but these are subjects far out of my comfort zone and I wondered where this road would take me. Then, it hit me like a guitar over the head. The commonalities between these areas are much more similar, than different. Is a song not a short story? Is a song not a structure of rhyme, timing, and rhythm? Indeed - I have found a common bond to discuss with the group.
Turns out, they were more interested in basic songwriting techniques so they could possibly cross over to our side using the skills they have already developed as poets and writers. They kept me there way past my allotted time with questions. I left their group that evening with a sense of accomplishment.
You see, songwriting is not rocket science for someone who wants to apply themselves to that endeavor. We all just need to block out the noise and let the art of songwriting flow from wherever it comes from within us. I’m not saying everyone can be a songwriter, but for those of us who attempt to call ourselves one, we need to put forth the effort to create the best product we can. That is true enlightenment.