As a professional songwriter, I am asked often how I walk into a co-write with superstars like Darius Rucker, Little Big Town, or Lady Antebellum and create songs “on-demand?” Well, I didn’t start out doing this, but I’ve learned a few tricks over the years that’ve allow me to train my creativity and tap into it anytime, anyplace. The good news is, you can too! These 5 simple strategies go a long way in the songwriting business.
1. Make it clear that you mean business.
Developing a writing routine shows yourself and others that you are in your creative zone. Not only do you need to show others when it’s okay to interrupt your writing and when it’s not, but also, your own creativity needs trained as well. Studies show that writing at a regular time each day allows the subconscious to be prepared to create more easily “on demand” than when you have no set routine.
2. Decide when to be interrupted.
It’s perfectly okay to check email or social media occasionally, but only when you decide! This means you must turn off your phone’s ringer off, and get rid of those pesky email notifications. Take control of your environment and creative space. Don’t be a slave to interruptions!
3. Don’t check email first thing in the morning.
We’ve all heard this, but so few of us actually do this. Email is a real addiction, and as a creative person, one of the biggest ways to start your day off in the wrong direction. The human mind is in its most natural creative state upon waking. Use this time to create a new writing reality. Let’s put an end to the terrible feeling of knowing we’ve spent an hour or so refreshing our browser, checking emails, and scanning Facebook.
4. There are NO wrong notes.
Once you are in your writing space, there are NO wrong notes. Give yourself the freedom to create in a completely non-judgmental space. Don’t worry if your piece is too this or not enough of that. Let the words and music flow. Editing will come later, but not in the creative stage.
5. Spend as much time listening as writing.
You are what you eat, as the saying goes, and creativity needs feeding. Spend as much time reading books and listening to other artists and writers as you do writing your own. This is essential to keeping your art fresh and avoiding ruts. Practicing this is also the biggest slayer of writer’s block. When you are excited about what you hear or read, it will transfer real excitement into what you write.
These strategies are simple. Very simple! But as we know in today’s world, they can be hard to master. Work diligently, and your creativity will bless you!
Write On! ~CM