In this last installment of my blog I wanted to talk about what I think is the most important aspect of writing, and music in general.
Sometimes, in the frustration of the creative process, (or the frustration of being in this industry full stop!) it’s easy to lose sight of what got you into making music in the first place. The sheer joy of it. The most fun I have ever had in my life has been with music. Sure, it can be tough working in the industry (as it can be with most jobs), but it only takes one good show, or one flash of inspiration to remind you just why you are doing this.
And it’s so easy to get precious about things, especially your writing. My thoughts on that? Don’t try so hard. If you have to make a conscious effort to make sure you fit 8,000 metaphors into each verse then perhaps you need to try a different approach. Relax, and let it come. You have time, and the song itself will dictate what it needs. One of the hardest things is recognizing when you are forcing a song, and when it’s time to just leave it alone for a while. You can always try starting something else and come back to it at another stage. You have time, don’t panic. Make yourself a cup of tea, or take a walk. The song will still be there when you come back. I want to dispel the image of the pained artist, agonizing over the right adjective through the night. That has only ever pushed me around in circles, until I settle for something just to get it done. A fresh perspective and some time away from it is very often exactly what you need to fill in those missing spaces.
Writing, in my eyes, should be an enjoyable and therapeutic process. Even if the subject matter is an emotional one for you, chances are the physical manifestation of those emotions into a living, breathing song will really help the healing process. You’ll feel a lot better when you sit back with pride and listen to that beautiful thing you have made, out of a potentially painful situation. It’s good for you. It feels good. It is good. And it can only do good.
This is another point I’d like to touch on, and please bear in mind that these are my findings, my thoughts and opinions.
Don’t write to please other people. It doesn’t work. If you don’t whole-heartedly believe in what you are creating it will fall flat. Sincerity is key. If it means something to you, it’s perfect. Even if no-one else likes it or will ever hear it! It exists because of you, be proud.
Don’t be afraid if this new song sounds nothing like any of the songs you’ve written before. Write because you can, and because you want to. Don’t work to a formula or to a set of rules. There are none. You are in open water here, with the freedom to go anywhere you let your imagination take you. The worst thing you can do is force an idea into a direction it doesn’t want to go in. Follow the song’s lead, deal with what you are going to do with it afterwards! Treat each idea differently, and judge it by it’s own merits. Each song is a standalone piece of work, and comparing it to others will do you, and the song, no good.
Above all. Enjoy it. There is nothing quite like the feeling of sitting back in your chair after you fit that last part of the puzzle. Or getting up and playing it for people for the first time. Or seeing people sing along to something that has come out of your head. The latter always makes me feel a beautiful mixture of pride, bewilderment and sheer gratefulness.
Most of all, it makes me feel pure, unbridled joy.
– Davy Knowles