When I first started playing music I almost immediately started writing songs with the plan of consistently creating. I would write songs drawing inspiration from events in my life or a deep emotion like being in love or someone close to me dying. Waiting for things to move me meant I didn’t write many songs over many years of trying to write songs. On the surface, there was an endless list of things to write about, but the songs did not flow that way. I did not feel strongly enough about everything around me to write songs consistently.
I was involved for a few years with the Australian Songwriters Association.
Every week there was an open mic night for new songs to be heard and so I tried to write a song for every week. That process and their workshops, albeit sporadic, taught me about songwriting diversity but not about consistency. Life got busier as I got older, then the drain of life sucked out the inspiration for songwriting…or so I thought. Now at some of the busiest times of my life I have been writing songs, lots of songs.
I heard about I Heart Songwriting Club through Facebook while searching for songwriting clubs and joined. The tenets of the club teach that restrictions and peer feedback are useful for nurturing creativity. In my experience over the past 9 months of consistently participating in I Heart Songwriting Club, the restricted time limit of 1-hour each week to write a song has become a really reasonable timeframe to write and the feedback from other members of the group helps and motivates you to keep writing.
For me the songwriting process works better with restrictions.
My brain just goes to work without much fuss. So what often comes to me is a flow of conscience and I just write until something falls into place. With the focus, theme and a limited time, like I get each week with my I Heart Songwriting Club tasks, the flow of conscience works even faster over time. Sometimes there is something I am already thinking about that can fit in with the theme of the week, other times a style of music seems to fit the theme better, other times it is only words and I work on the music second. Having only 1-hour makes me end the song and not keep changing it.
So, back to consistently creating.
Most of us wait for inspiration and don’t create a time or a schedule for it. But we can – we can do creativity in a scheduled way, to bring about skill development, practice and output. If we rely on inspiration, it may be years between songs. I Heart Songwriting Club has helped make songwriting easy, has created consistency, a rhythm, a pace for my songwriting and as a result I have written the majority of my songs since being part of the club.