“It’s like a muscle.”
The creative muscle. It doesn’t matter if your a painter, a writer, a chef, whatever – we should all know and appreciate this fact that we must DO the art in order to grow and improve.
That being said – I am one who thinks that SONGWRITING is about the coolest and most difficult challenge.
As Brian Eno put it once – “Songwriting is the toughest nut to crack”.
Eno went on to discuss how it’s not terribly hard to come up with a rhythmic groove. Like a loop with great percussion and maybe a bass line in it – that goes with.
Locking down a melody is another quest to build a muscle for. AND THEN if you can get a good melody to lock in with a satisfying grove you may have something special. (Paraphrased from an Eno discussion)
THE THING IS… issues with getting ones life in order and find the mind and the moment in the right space to get started in the rarefied pursuit of songwriting.
Sometimes all the prep work is missing something. I will note this down so you don’t feel like it’s just you – but maybe you got all your chores caught up, paid the bills, and are at peace with your loved ones – NOW? can I hang out in my nice little studio and write – my God glorious songwriting? – DO not be surprised if this when no ideas come or weak ones, or just nothing that feels like something worthy.
It’s an illusion.
This is caused by having too high of expectations for a result.
This is where the creative and trained muscle needs to flex. The thing is – there is a first, second, third, forth, fifth etc times of making these attempts. Turn on a drum beat or tap a tempo of what you are envisioning for your future song.
Try picking just 2 or 3 notes from your keyboard or guitar that you hum up a little mini melody idea. Don’t stop, Keep trying the ideas your assembling.
What you probably should NOT do is listen to music or have a TV going, or be hearing noise in the background – BUT –
here is an interesting phenomenon:
Have a song idea pop into your head while doing a mundane task. Maybe something as simple a walking could do it. I have had many a creative insight while alone cleaning up the kitchen.
To dispel the jinx, I’ll bet that if one were to clean up the kitchen with INTENT of having a inspiring idea for a song that – it would not work. *sigh*
Back in the day – I mean back back – when cassette tapes were in common use, I saved tons of ideas on my portable tape recorder. Now I use my smartphone with a wave recorder app, and this seems to catch those ideas.
Now at least capture those unexpected musical insights on a wave recorder app on my smartphone. So maybe that is pure gold – but it’s not the instant gratification as music as it is the muscle. Keep working that creative muscle and will start to become a habit. Take that last sentence to heart and I really highlight the idea here.