Take Inspiration and Keep it
If you’re anything like me or any other creative I have spoken to, you don’t always have ideas bursting out of you! So there are two things that I try and do to combat this and live a fulfilling creative life.
The first thing I will try and do is work when I am inspired and do everything I can to make that burst of inspiration last!
The second thing I do is set myself up to have a pot filled with golden eggs of inspiration so that I can pull them out when I’m feeling uninspired.
For me this set up looks like two things:
1. At any given time, there are 3 notes on my phone I am always adding to
One for random lyric lines that I think of during the course of my day-to-day life
One for cool concepts or ideas that I would like to write about
One for song titles that I think could really work
2. Voice memos. LOTS of voice memos!
Melodies, lyric lines, chord progression ideas and more! Catching these ideas when I have them, means I still have them on tap if I forget them. This helps me to avoid spending all my creative energy trying to remember that one idea that I had 3 days ago in the car on the way home. For me it also keeps my creative 'well' clear of junk and free-flowing.
No Idea Is A Bad Idea
This is particularly important in a collaborative session.
Let me explain. If I am sitting down to write a song, I try to leave my ego or insecurities at the door - lets face it, we all have them - forget my previous songs/sessions and disregard the history or talent of the person I am writing with because the song we are about to write, will be no better whether it was written by a previous Grammy winner or a 'nobody'. You are simply trying to get the best song that the people in that room can get, on that day.
Then we sit down, and start with the first idea that comes to our heads. Even we think it is - how do I say this delicately - manure. I like to think of it as fertiliser, that with enough manure or 'bad ideas' we’ll create the perfect environment for the brilliant one to spring up and bloom.
Go With The Flow
Whether you’re writing songs all the time or not as often, it is more important to stay inspired than to finesse the details. Do all you can to keep that inspiration flowing, and try not to get bogged down too soon in the specifics. Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and a place for fine tuning and a stack of critical thinking about each song and each lyric and melody as you move through the process of finalising the song, but keep it out of the writing room until you have a solid idea down. With that in mind try to avoid using words like 'no' or 'I don’t like that' or 'that sucks' etc… If you don’t like the idea, suggest a better one.
Here is the tedious part that all creatives hate… but if you don’t finish things, they will never see the light of day!