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Hive-mind on songwriting strategies
Old 31st May 2019
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Hive-mind on songwriting strategies

Hi everyone,

I was very glad to discover this thread on GS- I love geeking out about gear, tones, and recording techniques but at the end of the day the most important thing for me is writing. Communicating my unique perspective on the human experience, a limited and mediocre offering though it may be, is the reason for all the other stuff, is the thing I want all the other stuff to support.

This thread is just for sharing any useful writing strategies you have that you think may benefit the rest of us.

-what inspires you to write?
-how do you come up with your lyrics?
-what do you build your songs around- a guitar part? A lyric or melody?
-how do you weather the creative dry spells?
-do you use deadlines or schedules for your writing? Tell us about them.
-how do you protect your time to write from other important things demanding your time?

Maybe these will generate a conversation. If not no big deal. Thanks for sharing your insights!
Old 1st June 2019
  #2
Lives for gear
 

-how do you weather the creative dry spells?

there are no dry spells, just procrastination

-do you use deadlines or schedules for your writing? Tell us about them.

fake deadlines are useless

-how do you protect your time to write from other important things demanding your time?

wearing protection detracts from the pleasure of writing. i write when i write
Old 4th June 2019
  #3
I find deadlines really useful but like the previous poster said you can't fake them. Best thing in my book is to write with somebody(in my case I get paid for this but any collaboration is good) and then announce when you're going to send what your contribution is supposed to be.

As for protecting my writing time, I have a new phone which you can just turn around and it enters into a "do not disturb" mode. Other than that switching off the doorbell and all computer notifications helps—there's nothing worse than being taken out of the "flow" zone in order to tend to a trivial message or demand.

I write beats(=instrumentals) first, then melody, then lyrics. This way my music sounds current and fresh. But starting from a title is also great and has spawned many hits. I've never had any luck with writing melody first, like when something just pops into my head out of nowhere.

I get inspired through working with people and trying to do the best for their careers. I've never had a dry spell ever so I guess I'm lucky but also it's my profession and having to make money forces your mind somewhat!
Old 5th June 2019
  #4
Here for the gear
 

Thanks for the insight both of you. I will keep it in mind. Some of what you say reminds me of Stephen Pressfield’s book Turning Pro. It is a helpful read.

Also Uncovered Pitch I think it’s really cool that your desire for the success of others is a motivator for you- that type of thinking, that focus on helping and blessing others, is a rare quality I am having fun developing in my life.

Have a great day!
Old 6th June 2019
  #5
Glad you liked my comments. I will put Turning Pro high up on my reading list as it looks like good material for my sales page for my upcoming online songwriting course!

The "being of service to others" attitude is very noble indeed and should in theory always come first. I have to admit though that I don't always have this the right way round and sometimes getting paid is my primary motivation, but then I do lock in on what would be most beneficial to the artist and forget that I'm not even billing properly for all the extra work that I do!
Old 20th June 2019
  #6
Gear Maniac
 

This is a great topic since it seems there are tried and true methods to writing and everyone seems to use this or that, but occasionally you pickup something new by asking -

-what inspires you to write? I wish I could tell you I have something say, but that's not it. For me it's the joy, the thrill when something just feels right, a riff, a lyric what have you. It's the search for magic, even I'm the only one who is impressed
-how do you come up with your lyrics? usually scatting or mumbling (the Phil Collins 'Sussudio' effect) until a serviceable line to build around comes out of my mouth. I can safely I've never had one line of any lyric before this stage
-what do you build your songs around- a guitar part? A lyric or melody?guitar part, chord pattern, riff
-how do you weather the creative dry spells? funny you should ask. I quit smoking weed decades ago and my songwriting output went way down. I like to think the quality went up, but I'm no judge of that. Just the other day I was introduced to gummies... I could not believe how the song ideas poured from my fingers when I sat down with my guitar that day. So, you could try gummies
-do you use deadlines or schedules for your writing? Tell us about them. no
-how do you protect your time to write from other important things demanding your time? unfortunately I don't, my hope is that when I retire I will still have creative juices, by then gummies will be legal in my state!!!!

a couple examples:


Old 26th June 2019
  #7
Gear Nut
 
Garage Rodeo's Avatar
 

-what inspires you to write? Life. Or random ideas that pop in out of nowhere. Which only happens if your writing a lot.

-how do you come up with your lyrics? How'd you write your post? Jk. If anything write a page of notes on a subject, derive lyrics from it. Or write lyrics to melodies

-what do you build your songs around- a guitar part? A lyric or melody? Both but mostly guitar

-how do you weather the creative dry spells? I dont. Let it evolve

-do you use deadlines or schedules for your writing? No it's a hobby, somebody in the business? probably

-how do you protect your time to write from other important things demanding your time
Tell her we hung out last nite.
Old 1st July 2019
  #8
Lives for gear
 

If the writing “muse” pays me a visit, then
I put everything else (and I mean everything)
aside and answer. Because the muse is
fickle..u never know when she’ll visit,
or how long she’ll stay, or if she’ll ever
visit again.

I usually have an existing song in mind
when I sit down to write, which is every
day. I keep a list of song ideas on my
phone, most of them are me singing
a melody while playing the piano, or
just the piano idea, sometimes I use
Apple’s Music Memos app.You can record
yourself playing a guitar or piano and it
creates a bass and drums backing track to
accompany it! It’s really useful.

I dont suffer dry spells, but I do go through
times when I get stuck on finishing a song
that I just can’t seem to “close the deal on”.
It will bug me and bug me no end cuz I feel
the song “could” be great but still isn’t.
The best solution I’ve found is to just file
the song away until the day comes when I
have that “a-HAH!” moment and I realize
how to fix it. That will often happen when
I’m walking my dog in the morning..proof
that a change of scenery can be good for
the creative mind. And yes I have a large
number of songs still waiting to be
finished.

If I hear a song on commercial radio I
really dig, it makes me want to write
something like it. I know enough about writing and arranging to turn the arrangement around so I dont get sued for copyright infringement. I’ve
produced a lot of good tracks that way.
I recommend this approach to any
writer..write your “own” version of a hit song
you already love. That is truth few in
the business admit..but every successful
writer does it at least a few times in their
career, if not most of the time.

Here is an example..country singer Lauren
Alaina’s hit “The Road Less Traveled”. The
chorus hook melody is ripped straight from
Berlin’s 80’s hit “Take My Breath Away”. It’s
really blatant.

It pays to also make a soundalike of
an existing hit song. Learn all the parts
for the song and record them. Not only
the parts, but the sounds themselves.
Thats how you learn arranging..by
mimicking what someone else has already
successfully done.
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