I remember chatting to a songwriter friend of mine a while ago about the pain he was experiencing when writing songs.
He said to me that he was great at starting songs but really lousy at finishing them (well, aren’t we all).
He also told me his main philosophy for his songwriting process and to me, this was the main reason he wasn’t finishing his songs.
He said to me words to the effect of…
… if the song is not perfect then the song isn’t worth finishing.
WTF!!! No wonder he was experiencing the pain of songwriters block.
I think that the concept of having to write the perfect song is something that’s more common among us songwriters than we care to admit so, allow me to be a little blunt here.
This struggle for songwriting perfection KILLS PEOPLE.
It kills their creativity and kills their inspiration and sometimes (in extreme circumstances) the drive to perfection generally can kill a person physically.
There is a HUGE difference between being driven to write great songs and being driven to write perfect songs.
My reply to his philosophy was this…
… why don’t you try seeing your songwriting not as a means to an end (the hit song) but as a way of just letting yourself go?
As songwriters, how much pressure do we put ourselves under? A lot!
Is it worth it? NO!
You see, the notion of perfection in anything is but a mere illusion. It’s created by the ego and massaged into existence by insecurity, jealousy, doubt, low self esteem and shame.
Songwriting should be a celebration of life, of letting yourself go, setting yourself free and playing around with your creativity. It’s not about reminding yourself how inadequate you are through comparing yourself needlessly to other songwriters.
Always remember that there’s not another one of you on this planet so therefore your experiences, your thoughts, your insights, your feelings, your dreams, your desires, your observations and the way that you question life, universe and everything around it are uniquely yours, and yours alone.
What does that mean? A lot actually.
It means that…
- There is no point in comparing yourself and your songwriting to others as there is no one else but you to compare yourself to in the first place
- Being the one-of-a-kind and unique creature that you are, whatever you say is always very, very important.
The concept of perfection would only exist if there was something perfect to aspire to in the first place.
Now granted, there have been some amazing songs written in the past and there will be amazing songs that will be written in the future, but none of those songs are “perfect” and they never, ever will be.
We, like our songwriting, are all works in progress so embrace those imperfections and just concentrate on writing songs without getting in your own way.