Sunday, August 29, 2010

Tapping into the creative process or waiting for the cosmic two by four

Some days an experience triggers a song and it just comes out. Many of these are experiences that I could do without. How many heartache, got hit by a train songs have we heard? It’s like this cosmic 2 X 4 hits you on the head providing all the content and emotion needed for writing a song. The challenge is tap into the creative process, whenever you want, even if everything is going great, possibly ducking that 2 X 4.

I was in a class on the creative process the other night. Just learning something new sparked creativity. Here are some other thoughts.

· Creation is going on all the time. New ideas and thoughts are everywhere. At times you are either drawing things in or pushing them away. (Ernest Holmes). The challenge and opportunity is being open and receptive to new ideas.

· “Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it is the only one we have” (Emile Chartier)? “The best way to get a good idea, is to get a lot of ideas” (Roger von Oech). The number of ideas and your ability to generate new ideas is unlimited.

· In the presence of some people or experiences we are inspired, uplifted to great things. From where do your ideas flow?

· There are infinite perspectives on an idea or experience. People have been writing about love for thousands of years and can still find a unique perspective.

These are great concepts, so how do I use them in songwriting?

· To get inspired, I need to have lots of new experiences. This means getting out of the house, going to the mountains, being around interesting people, reading a good book...

· When I write, I often write one verse, go for a walk or do something else. The next verses come when I can tap into that stockpile of ideas hidden within the clutter in my mind.

· Take a concept or word and find multiple meanings. Here’s one example, I took the word “Cup.” Some of the ideas were - full or empty, large or small, cold or hot, steamy, hot chocolate, open or with a lid, right side up or upside down, cracked, water/beer/wine, part of a set, dusty, lipstick on the rim, spots left by the dishwasher, ....

The last point inspired me, now off to do the dishes.

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16 Comments:

At 4:36 AM, Blogger $o$o said...

is the cosmic thing real and check out my blogs telle me what you think

http://tberecordsblog.blogspot.com/
http://sosostandsup.blogspot.com/

 
At 4:52 PM, Blogger Spencer said...

Hi Jeff,

I like this particular post. This is something I've struggled with my entire songwriting career. Thanks for some of the insight.

By the way, I started a songwriting blog today. Would you mind taking a look and giving me some feedback? I'm trying to create a community of songwriters for ideas/support.

Have a good one!

Spencer

songwritingforsongwriters.blogspot.com

 
At 8:20 AM, Anonymous Lakia Psrker said...

I actually enjoyed reading all of your post

 
At 7:06 PM, Anonymous Kevin Thomas said...

I like the positive tips. For some reason, whenever I am down about something in my life I can never seem to write about it. Most of my writing will come out when I am in a good mood and can reflect on the darker times. It always annoyed me that I was never able to transform negative experiences into songs in the moment. But maybe I'm just not a blues man, and my writing is meant for a slightly different style. In any case, those were good tips you offered.

 
At 12:54 AM, Anonymous Teresa Lockhart said...

Excellent point...it's all about experiences really. Soaking in life, digesting it, pouring it back out in song.

 
At 1:42 PM, Anonymous The Songbird Project said...

Jeff,

Helpful post. Thank you!

Ben

www.thesongbirdproject.com

 
At 4:25 AM, Anonymous Jessica Brandon said...

Nice article, I am definetly going to bookmark it. I have to say the research this article has is great!

Jessica Brandon
Artist Relations
USA Songwriting Competition
http://www.songwriting.net

 
At 1:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We've got a Songwriter Sketchbook you might be interested in. If you can't find it at your local guitar Center, we apologize, but it's always on sale at www.layflatsketchbooks.com.

 
At 6:59 AM, Anonymous Stone said...

haha, this is a great post. defintely agree with you...
Stone
www.stoneaielli.com

 
At 4:54 PM, Blogger Kate O'Quinn said...

These are great tips and so true! Thanks for sharing what you are learning with the rest of us!

 
At 8:48 AM, Anonymous Mali Korsten said...

A very interesting post! I found that waiting for inspiration to slap me round the face left me with few songs to show for the past year. So I decided that this month I would actively choose to "tap into the creative process" (as you put it) and complete one new song every day, record a rough video of it and upload it. I've written three songs in three days. Though it can sometimes feel so, songwriting is not a passive process. Thanks for a great post!

 
At 4:29 PM, Blogger Kelsey said...

This is great. I am also a big believer in putting your stuff out there for competitions. Check this one out:
http://machinemanthemovie.com/song_contest.php

They will be opening mutliple submission dates and you can get $10 off by entering the code MMKLJ.

Its for a wonderful cause!

 
At 10:46 AM, Blogger Joanna said...

Very good post! I really enjoyed this. I have found myself so wanting to avoid writing or creating things without "heart" that I would avoid writing until I was in the depths of some emotion.

But I have found that if you discipline yourself to write all the time, like you said, "tap into the creativity" regularly - your writing becomes better, so that when you do hit the emotional phases, the writing produced is immensely better and more organized than before.

 
At 12:57 PM, Anonymous Ryan said...

I have found that this post is very true. One thing I like to do, and I probably overdo is using lots of imagery. There are lots of fresh words out there that go with images/metaphors. If you can relate an experience to something visual it helps you put words to it. One that is perhaps overdone is the analogy of driving down a road which is a word picture of life. However it can be effective if you have the right words.

 
At 7:07 PM, Blogger Jimmy J said...

Digging this post! It is, at least for me, very hard to write when I am just going through the motions of daily, but when something emotional hits me, its like my body is trained to sit down with the guitar and just start singing and writing. Its amazing how it all naturally comes together! I literally just let my mind and body take over and the words and melody spill onto the page. Its quite remarkable to be honest haha

I also post on a songwriting centered blog where I feature artists and share their music and stories as well as host little songwriting challenges to help spark inspiration and add some friendly competition! Come check it out if you get the chance!

theSongwritingNetwork.blogspot.com

 
At 11:28 AM, Anonymous Mandi Crimmins said...

Awesome post Jeff I love the idea that creation is going on all the time! You really have some great blog posts I love the content!


musicbymandi.com/songwriting-blog

 

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