I’ve been part of an online Songwriting group for the past 4 years, we write a song a week some years, others a song a month. I guess that means I have at least 128 original songs, more actually because I’ve dabbled with songwriting since I was 15.
I remember being that unruly kid that wrote a song and then was too stubborn to ask for help in putting it on paper. In a last minute mad dash, I wrote what I could and then was disqualified because the judges couldn’t read it.
As a “professional” musician, I learned hundreds of cover songs; it’s a living and keeps me busy. The downside was it put me in a box for years, thinking a song had to “make it” to have value. I write a lot of things, stories about falling pecans, little girls who can’t, Sally Quarter Note, short plays and stories. If printed, they would gather dust of neglect and self-doubt. Yes, I’m one of those, the one who says, “do it!” and yet struggle with tying my own ends together.
Songs usually come to me quickly; they fly through the window or knock at my door and insist upon being heard, so I listen. The words appear upon the page and I sit in silent wonderment.
Someone recently told me that I live a blessed life; I was surprised by his words. He went on to tell me that writing is a gift, how he struggles with finding the words to express how he feels, what he thinks. I don’t understand his struggle, it’s like words are flying through the air constantly waiting to be plucked and pronounced. I wanted to tell him to be brave, to reach out and grab them, for they long to be heard. But then I think about how other people do things that leave me in wonderment, so I was silent.
This is how I invite the Muse into my life:
- Find silence ~ surround yourself with the quietness of your mind (Create a safe space to work in. My biggest challenge is a needy cat)
- Find what works best for you, pen and paper, pencil and parchment (I use the computer, am a paste and copy kid)
- Find a topic, a theme to focus upon (Join a songwriters or writing group, look up prompts on line)
- Be accountable, set a deadline (my group sends out a prompt early Monday morning and we have to submit by midnight the following Sunday)
- Post your work and get feedback (Ask your friends, do social media, perform your work in public ~ do something, anything!)
- Write everyday, it’s a muscle and needs flexed. (If you do it once a week, at the end of the year you’ll have 52 of something)
- Make sure to keep copies of everything (I email my work back to me)
- Learn about how other people doing what you want to do are doing it (there’s a ridiculous amount of information on line, but beware of being sucked into your computer and wasting time researching instead of writing
- Trust yourself, your story is your story, your thoughts your own, nobody can say what you want to say in the way that you say it.
And Finally and I think this is most important of all so I’ll scream it “TOSS OUT YOUR INNER CRITIC!!!!”
So many times I hear people say, “I’m not good enough”
I think the problem is we stop ourselves because we start with an expectation. Why write if it’s not going to be a hit song, top 10 best seller, get me a Grammy…” That’s just stinkin’ thinkin’, write because you want to, because it moves you, because it brings you peace. Write, play, dance, create because it’s who you are. That’s reason enough, you’re good enough, you’re strong, brave and brilliant, that my friends is the truth.
Today’s Musing: The Bird sings because it wants to, never worried about who’s listening or how good it is, be the bird