My first piece of advice that I would give to any beginning songwriter is… “Never throw anything away, EVER!”
Just think, that piece of paper that you’ve thrown in the bin with some half finished lyrics penned the night before might have contained the ideas for THE song that defines you as a performer, artist or songwriter.
All it might’ve needed was a few re-writes either by yourself or, maybe with a collaborator (or two).
As a songwriter you must keep all of your scraps of paper, nonsensical ramblings on your phone and your audio snippets on your computer because songwriting ideas are infinite and sacred all at the same time.
Just hear me out here…
First of all, songwriting ideas are infinite because they are everywhere. You just have to allow yourself to be open and perceptive to them.
One songwriter may see a falling leaf and not think twice about it while another songwriter may see that same leaf as a metaphor for freedom and write a song about it.
If you take the view that songwriting ideas are infinite then you cease being protective of the songs you have already written. You then allow your songs to truly breathe, and come into being which will then lead to those songs being listened to and performed.
It also stops yourself having the view that everything that you write has to be perfect.
Remember, if you write a song that you are not sure of, don’t throw it away, just leave it alone and go onto something else because you’ll always think of another songwriting idea (if you allow yourself that is).
Secondly, songwriting ideas are sacred because they come from YOU and only you.
That alone is a reason to keep everything you write because, when you think about it, throwing away a songwriting idea is really throwing away a part of you.
You should always be proud of what you create whether you feel your songwriting ideas are good, bad or indifferent.
The good songs are the ones you perform as they are a gift from yourself to yourself. The not so good songs should be acknowledged as the stepping stones that they are and remember, you can always go back to them later if your stuck for ideas.
Maybe with some more life experience under your belt plus a fresher set of eyes and ears (or maybe with a collaborator) a song you’ll be proud of, will come from it.
It’s okay to write a song about world peace. It’s okay to write a song about love and it’s also okay to write a song about a falling leaf. As long as it comes from you that’s all that matters.
Besides, if you allow yourself to be truly receptive of the world around you, you’re never going to run out of songwriting ideas. Exciting isn’t it?