How To Focus On Songwriting – Tip 1

Tip 1

  1. Record 3 or more spontaneous, unedited, stream of conscious melodies or progression ideas on your iPhone voice memos or portable recording device per day.

Music is such a big all-encompassing thing. From the instruments, branding, mixing, producing, marketing, social scenes, bios, performing, artistry, practice, image . . . and the list goes on. Lately, I have just been feeling overwhelmed by it all. There is just so much information, and so much to do. Now that the independent artist (with the advent of the internet and low price studio gear) can record and release their own music. It’s really a lot to take on.  I have noticed that lately I have been feeling very musically unfulfilled.  I have realized it is because I haven’t been writing songs this past year. I love writing songs. It is my favorite thing to do with music and have forgotten about it because of the immense clutter of the music industry. But I can’t blame it on everything else but myself. I have to take the initiative to write every day. It’s what I love to do anyway.  So how do I focus on songwriting instead of all of this other music stuff?

I have been listening to a lot of podcasts lately about music producing, engineering, songwriting and more. They have giving me a lot of inspiration, motivation, and knowledge. I have been listening to Sound + Substance, The Home Studio Corner, and Sodajerker.  I can’t believe I have learned so much in two weeks. The main thing I realized, is that songwriting is the source of all of my music and that I need to make it my primary focus. Because without a good song it doesn’t matter how the mix is, or the marketing or that I dyed my hair blue.  So I have decided to re initiate my primary focus back to songwriting.  But how do I do that?   That is what I am going to discuss in the next series of blog post called “How To Focus On Songwriting.”

I have a lot of things that block me from writing.  Usually voices in my head that say “that isn’t good enough” or “its too much work” etc.  All kinds of different things come before I even pick up my guitar.  In the book the Artist Way, by Julia Cameron.  She calls this the critic.   By the way, the artist way is a great, fun book to learn how to create more and have fun with it.  It has deeply inspired me to write more.  So the key to start writing is to not let the voice stop me.  For me it is essential to write first then edit later.  Ya, I just start writing with no filter.  Just get everything out.  This means with lyrics, melodies and anything artistic.   If I try to edit in the beginning stages nothing comes out.    So I will literally write everything that comes to my head without thinking, filtering or criticizing.  And honestly, the lyrics in my songs that my friends like most were usually natural and the unfiltered lyrics.  So I am going to give one songwriting tip per post, to help motivate and inspire myself and also anybody else who is reading.

  1. Record 3 or more spontaneous, unedited, stream of conscious melodies or progression ideas on your iPhone voice memos or portable recording device per day.

If you don’t have an iPhone I highly recommend getting something to record with that you can carry with you everywhere.  I Usually record with a guitar or piano but sometimes just myself singing.  If an ideas comes to me, I record it as fast as possible.    If I’m in the movies, I will step out.  If I am in my car I will pull over, if I am with friends I will excuse myself for a minute and record it on my iPhone.  Sometimes ideas come out of nowhere, and it is so important to get it down.  All the times I said “Oh I will remember it for later”, I forget it. So I get it down with urgency. If I don’t have any ideas, I just sit down and start spiting stuff out until I at least get three different ideas out.    If an idea of a melody comes to me, I usually won’t try to figure it out on the piano or guitar until I get a quick recording of it first, because sometime when I plop it out on an instrument, I start to change it a little.  Which is OK, but I like to have the original idea down because most of the time it for me it turns out to be the one I like the most.   Remember no filtering, no critics.  It doesn’t have to be good.   You will sift through them later.  Just get it out.  In a month you will have around 90 song ideas?  Not bad hugh?  So if lets say 60 of them were horrible and not usable, you have then 30 great song starts on one month’s time?  Awesome.

I will be posting my songwriting tip #2 next week.   Thanks for reading this post.  Writing this has helped me focus and motivate my love of music.  Please comment, share, and email me any ideas.  I want to give credit to those who have inspired me and got my creative juices going.  Please check out their books, podcast and websites below.


The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron


Recording Revolution Podcast

Graaham Cochrane Music


Sodajerker Podcast

Simon Barber Music  and   Brian O’Connor Music


Sound + Substance Podcast 

John Stieen Music


Home Studio Corner Podcast

Joe Gilder Music


You can check out my music and email me here:

The Second Spirit Music

[email protected]