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The One Unarguable Truth About Songwriting

There’s one fact of songwriting life that I’ve never been able to get around. It’s this: The songs just don’t write themselves.

There’s a part of me that wants to avoid the heavy mental lifting and investment of time that’s involved in writing new songs and developing as a songwriter, in keeping the writing muscles working and the craft expanding.

But when I avoid songwriting, which I sometimes do (and I’m fairly prolific!), after a while I realize something…

I don’t have any new songs.

And I’m unenthused by the ones I’ve already got developing. Which is even worse. It’s worse because my evaluation is not really a judgement on the quality of my song ideas. It’s a reflection of my desire to avoid putting in the time it takes to make them solid, complete songs.

And I actually enjoy songwriting! Who can fathom my perverse songwriting mind? But there it is.

And yet the fact remains… My songs just refuse to write themselves.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts, additions, disagreements in the Comments section below:

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6 responses to “The One Unarguable Truth About Songwriting”

  • Anne Carpenter

    As someone who is NOT a prolific songwriter, I offer myself up as exhibit A in evidence of songs not writing themselves. I wrote my first song seven or eight years ago and I am averaging one a year if you add up the ones I have written on my own. If you’ve never truly gotten into the habit of writing songs as a discipline, it’s pretty easy to avoid doing it without feeling too badly about it but having just written a song this week, I’m remembering how good it feels to give life to this thing whose particles were there all along just needing to be united with their neighbors. And because I started writing again I now have that window open so that the creative bug can fly into my house and visit. Thanks for your help, Tony!

  • I’ve always found that when a moment mirrors, the thing writes itself……………..

  • Erica Steenkamp

    So true Brian. Some songs fall out of the sky and others, as Tony mentioned, are a slog. I live to write and I write to life live…

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