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Where do you get your inspiration? What books have you read or seminars have you attended that helped you in this respect? Are there any specific techniques you use to get you writing? Feel free to discuss any of the creative aspects of songwriting in this forum. You can also use this forum to help inspire and to challenge yourselves. Make suggestions for song topics, talk about titles, discuss the differences between poetry and song lyrics, etc. Enjoy!
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Do you "have to" write songs ...or is it more like a necessary chore etc.

#1 User is offline   AMereHobbyist Icon

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Posted 17 January 2010 - 04:39 AM

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Posted 17 January 2010 - 05:19 AM

Nice topic.

For me Its like talking, getting things off my chest so to speak. If I didnt do it I think I would probably go crackers. I have alot of unfinished material, songs with no end, 1st draft music with bad production, lyrics with no music and vise versa. I think these items came to a stop because I had finished 'venting' and saw no need to persue them any further. Or simply lost heart in them.

Sometimes though, I do just write for fun or because I have a nice idea for a song or lyric. These tend to be the ones that get finished.

Best wishes

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Posted 17 January 2010 - 08:48 AM

I LIKE to write songs. I didn't always. Now I do. I used to find it a chore - painful. I wanted to, but felt blocked - or rather, blocked myself, thinking they weren't "good enough" and so effectively stopped myself from writing before I'd even begun.

Now it's not such a struggle, and really, I credit FAWM for that. Because now it's fun - and I give myself permission to write a silly song, or a poetic song or a parody, or am open to any prompts FAWM presents - Like write a song based on a bass line, or write about a day of the week. Anything to jump start one's creativity is all right in my book, and it doesn't feel like I'm being compelled to churn out anything. Some of my best songs (I think) have been written during several FAWMs.

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Posted 17 January 2010 - 08:55 AM

Yes I do. The problem is I can't tell you why. I am not a published songwriter. I don't perform live but I'm writing and rewriting songs constantly. I guess you can say it's my drug of choice. Good topic..............................peace!
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Posted 17 January 2010 - 11:18 AM

"Drug of choice" - that's a good way of putting it. Playing/writing music and gardening make me feel "high" in a constructive way. So do golf, tennis, and going to the beach. But there are times when those things don't give me that high, and then I don't do them for a while.
If FAWM wasn't fun, if it got in the way of the rest of my life, I wouldn't do it. There is a sister FAWM challenge, 50 songs in 90 days, that I got heavily into during the summer and then stopped once I went back to work. Got to around 30 songs. Many of them were banjo instrumentals - practice pieces that I recorded.
And I like what Corinne has to say about how FAWM gives "permission" to write differently than you might otherwise. Also, FAWM is not really a challenge in the sense that you can win anything, so not getting to 14 is not a huge deal unless you make it that way in your mind.
Back to the original question - I "have to" write, I guess, because the best songs come to me at unusual times and I feel compelled to get them committed to paper/a Word doc/a recording before I forget them. But lately I have felt like I "have to" write a song for a teacher friend about saying please and thank you, and I keep putting it off because what I have so far doesn't work for me.

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Posted 19 January 2010 - 12:58 PM

I realized a few years ago, after a very long hiatus from writing, performing or even listening to music, that I do "have to" write songs. It's something that I have always done, and even if I take long breaks, I will always come back to it. I'm not published. I no longer perform live, but I still create music for the shear satisfaction of making something new and enjoyable. There are a few folks that like to hear my music too, so I share it with them as well.

To says it's like a drug is an apt description. It gives me energy, it makes me happy, it also can also depress me and make me moody. But, I find the more music I make, the better I feel, so I guess I'll keeping abusing A minor.
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Posted 19 January 2010 - 02:00 PM

I do not have to write any particular genre, but I do have to write. I wouldn't put myself in the "songwriter" category, anyway. Aspiring lyricist, yes - but I'm more of a poet.

To write is a compulsion, but I do not find it a chore, at all.
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Posted 19 January 2010 - 02:17 PM

I don't "have to" write songs at all.
(I don't even completely grasp the concept.)
Writing songs is merely one of the things I am able to do when needs arise.
Whenever that particular need arises, it is indeed a chore, hard work, labour, application.
That is not a complaint - merely recognition.
I am happy with the results.
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and the second best to sing them"

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 07:19 PM

I started writing songs to get girls, then when I realized that actually worked, it made me want to write more songs.

I also love producing music, so I write songs as a part of that process of my hobby.

Definately not a need like my need to sniff glue, just a joy...like my joy of sniffing glue.
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Posted 21 January 2010 - 08:27 PM

View PostFunkDaddy, on Jan 21 2010, 06:19 PM, said:

I started writing songs to get girls, then when I realized that actually worked, it made me want to write more songs.

:D Love it. A Truth so many would not admit.
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Posted 21 January 2010 - 09:45 PM

Yeah, I gotta write because it's what I do. I like to write. It's easy. Stuff just comes to me. Well right now the lyrics come to me. Maybe the melody will come later.
The only place I belong is on a stage.

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 05:17 PM

I admire those who do write songs and stick with it. There is an irony in songwriting, like many other professions or hobbies. Depends on how you look at songwriting. Some make a living of it, others do it as a hobby. Those who do it as a hobby and are fortunate enough to actually make money at it are way ahead of the game. But these things are what keeps me from writing. I enjoy it to a degree, but I know I will never be fortunate enough to make one dime from it or get a song on air play. I believe that to a songwriter getting recognition for there hard work is probably one of there greatest dreams. Yet few ever get that chance, and there are many great writers out there that will never have a song recognized by the main stream media. But, when I hear or see a great song written or played it brings out my emotional side as a good song will do that, and that's what is worth the effort, knowing you made a difference or actually spoke to someone through your song. that is an accomplishment indeed, and something that makes songwriting worth the effort.

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 05:27 PM

I don't "have" to write songs, and I suspect the sanity of those who say they do. As others have said, I LIKE to write songs, and over the years I think I've developed certain skills that make it easier to do. But I could still wake up tomorrow and eat my Cherrios for breakfast if the music-police banned me from ever writing again. I'd just find something else to do.

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 05:48 PM

View PostNeal K, on Jan 22 2010, 04:27 PM, said:

I don't "have" to write songs, and I suspect the sanity of those who say they do. As others have said, I LIKE to write songs, and over the years I think I've developed certain skills that make it easier to do. But I could still wake up tomorrow and eat my Cherrios for breakfast if the music-police banned me from ever writing again. I'd just find something else to do.Neal


Doesn't sound like there's any drive here..........I guess our drives are different. And that's okay.
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#15 User is offline   Teri Icon

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 05:57 PM

Actually, that's a cold statement. Why would you want to make such a rude comment about me?
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#16 User is offline   Neal K Icon

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 06:07 PM

View PostTeri, on Jan 22 2010, 02:57 PM, said:

Actually, that's a cold statement. Why would you want to make such a rude comment about me?


I don't think it's cold or rude at all, and my comment certainly wasn't directed at you. People have to eat and breathe, but no-one, so far as I know, has ever died from lack of songwriting. But since you say you "have" to write, I'd be interested to know why. What would happen to you if you didn't write?

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#17 User is offline   Teri Icon

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 06:20 PM

May I ask who it was directed at, then? I was the only one recently who stated they felt like they had to write. Nothing would happen to me if I didn't write, except be unhappy, and the reason is because writing is what I do best (getting my degree in it), and is what drives me to further my career. Sure, I could be a secretary and sit behind a desk for 8 hours, but what would I be accomplishing then?? What legacy is there, in that? How proud could I be? How much talent (pardon me, not being egotistical) would be wasted?

If writing was taken away from me, I'd be forced to do something else. I might not be happy doing it, but nonetheless, I'd find something else. By the way, I WAS a secretary for awhile, and I NEVER want to go back to that crap. Never. I just assume be a simple waitress then go back to a wooden desk.
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Posted 22 January 2010 - 06:31 PM

That'd be like taking cars away from racecar drivers.
Or taking music away from The Beatles.
Or food away from Martha Stewart. (ok that might not be a bad thing, but you get the idea....)
In other words, you take away what people do best, and they got nothin' left. Like I said, they could find other things to do, but I'd venture to say they'd be VERY unhappy in life if they had to do other than what is in their hearts.
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Posted 22 January 2010 - 06:34 PM

View PostTeri, on Jan 22 2010, 03:20 PM, said:

I just assume be a simple waitress then go back to a wooden desk.


You're getting a degree in writing? Really? I'm curious what kind of degree you are working towards.

And no, my response wasn't directed at you, although it may appear as though it was. I've been a member of this site for many years and this topic comes up from time to time. When I hear people say that they "have" to write I'm simply curious what that really means. I'm honestly curious about what would happen to these people if, for some reason, suddenly they could not write.

My assumption is that nothing would happen... that we would simply find other ways of expressing ourselves. That's all. Nothing mean or malicious intended. Your latest response is more enlightening than your first because it gets more to the point of what’s driving you. Your motivations are noble ones.

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#20 User is offline   Teri Icon

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 06:41 PM

My degree will say "Rhetoric & Writing." I graduate in May of this year. It's been one hell of a tough three years earning it. People don't realize how much work there is, in getting a degree. Anyway, if you want a copy of my resume I'd be glad to send you one. My school stuff is on it, as well as some music stuff. No, you will not see where I performed because I haven't done that. Just other music stuff is on there. Glad you weren't directed at me. So you were speaking in general terms, then, of those who say they "have" to write. Okay, that makes sense.
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Posted 22 January 2010 - 06:51 PM

View PostTeri, on Jan 22 2010, 03:41 PM, said:

My degree will say "Rhetoric & Writing." I graduate in May of this year. It's been one hell of a tough three years earning it. People don't realize how much work there is, in getting a degree.


Well, good for you. I was lucky enough to live at home and have a well-paying part time job when I got my first degree. Getting my Masters Degree was a little tougher because by that time I was running a company, being a husband and a dad, playing in a band, and having to shave every day. Good luck on your writing.

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 07:14 PM

I just found this topic. Very interesting. Could someone die from not writing music? In a way, yes. In in reality, maybe...

I wrote songs and my band played them, or I did them in solo gigs, for years. Songwriting was never a chore, it was always a labor of love. Then the band broke up, and I decided I had to 'grow up' and 'get serious about my life.' So I stopped writing, playing and singing.

Years went by, we relocated, got laid off from my job, got laid off from a second job, lost my house, got dangerously depressed. I finally got some help, and the key to my recovery has been getting back to writing songs. We've all got baggage and you don't need to hear about mine. But I've come to realize that for me, writing songs is as important to my health as eating well and exercising. And failing to do these basic things - eat well, get some regular exercise and express my creativity - does, indeed, lead to a slow, lingering death, both in spirit and in body. Literally. Just as bad habits lead cholesterol to build up in my veins, shorten my life and reduce the quality of it, cutting mself off from creative expression (and songwriting is by far my preferred method) leads me to become depressed, angry, judgmental, reduced quality of life, and, I am convinced, contributes to my high blood pressure and bad nutritional habits. And all that leads to death.

So in my case, yes, I need to write songs, or I suffer. For years I listened to writers, actors and other creative types talk about how they "had' to create, and I pooh-poohed it. I think many of them felt the pull more directly than I do, but I finally gave in and admitted to myself that, yes, I HAVE to write to maintain my health. Not everybody feels this way, obviously, and having this need doesn't indicate any talent. But this is one of the very, very few activities in my life that cause me to completely lose myself. And now it's the one that has saved me.

Sorry about the melodrama, but this is a very timely topic for me, as I'm recently trying to explore and understand my feelings around songwriting: acknowledging my talent, honing my craft, learning new things all the time, realizing which parts of the musical process I most enjoy, and sharing with others, all things I had avoided for years, and all to the detriment of my mental and physical health.

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 10:37 PM

I honestly don't know how to answer this. I do know that I would miss my guitars dreadfully. I don't play them all the time. I'm not even particularly good at playing them. However, they do energise me when I am tired and soothe me when I am stressed, and I love making music.

I also like to write words. I don't feel compelled to write all the time. I want to have something to say. However, I also write just to keep the juices flowing. I think the fact that I write has become part of my self-image, and it is a means by which I can reveal aspects of myself to others that they might not see. It is also healthy for me, as Jimski says.

I'd miss that if I stopped.

Actually, I did stop. I stopped writing songs for many years while my kids were growing up. It felt like it was too self-indulgent a way to spend my time. However, I think I was wrong and that I should have continued. When they became older, I took it up again and they both like that writing songs is something Dad does, and both take an interest.

Hmm. Even when I stopped, I still found outlets for creativity. This is just the avenue I choose most readily. Maybe I need to create.

Do I have to? I don't know. I want to keep on doing it, though. I even feel a little guilty when I haven't written anything in a while. However, I'm less satisfied with what I write than I once was. That's probably good thing.

Maybe I should just say that I have to write ... better :)
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Posted 22 January 2010 - 10:40 PM

For a few years, sometime back, I was obsessed with writing. I think I was using it as an escape from my bad marriage. I was writing lots back then, short stories, lyrics, I even started on a novel.

These days I write when the mood hits me or when I feel compelled to do so by a Muse competition. But I find trying to write a lyric when I feel no particular inclination to do so, usually results in a lyric that looks like a lyric I felt no particular inclination to write. My documents folder is full of those.

When the mood does hit me, though, and I feel I'm on to something, it's like falling in love. I'm obsessed with it, until it's done. It's a great feeling because it's not an everyday occurrence or even a monthly occurrence. It doesn't disrupt my life and I'm grateful for that.

I understand the feeling of "having" to write, and for me, it stemmed from a need to escape. I'm not sure where it stems from, in others.
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Posted 22 January 2010 - 11:24 PM

View PostTeri, on Jan 22 2010, 06:20 PM, said:

Sure, I could be a secretary and sit behind a desk for 8 hours, but what would I be accomplishing then?? What legacy is there, in that? How proud could I be? How much talent (pardon me, not being egotistical) would be wasted?


I applied to be a "secretary" at Ronald McDonald House, if I had gotten the job I would have had the opportunity to make a difference in the world, likely much more than my music will ever make outside of my own life. Same with the job I'm returning to as a nursing attendant. Having a little old lady tell me how sweet I am and how by just talking to her like a human being I've made her day better (and consequently hitting on me). Or having the wife of an old timer demand I take a tip because I stayed with them outside on one of the coldest days of the year in just my hospital scrubs to make sure they got a cab and to help the guy into it. Or the one that seals the deal with every girl I meet... when I ran a baby from one side of the hospital to the other to the ER when a family pulled into the wrong driveway of the hospital. (I got an award :) ) Those moments mean more to me than finishing any song has thus far.

I'm sort of rambling but I think my point is music can change the world. But it's likely none of our music will outside of our own place in this world. Cynical but realistic. So if you want a "legacy", you might want to look elsewhere. Write for fun and because you enjoy it, it sounds like you're hinging too much happiness on it. Don't stop believing your music can change the world, just don't be disappointed when it doesn't.
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Posted 23 January 2010 - 12:20 AM

I want to make a clear distinction between writing songs for myself and writing songs for the business/world. I don't hold any delusions of changing the world with my music. And I believe one can make a difference in peoples' lives in any situation; all work can be noble (even secretarial!) if one keeps one's integrity intact. I, too, have had many rewarding moments in my 'real' jobs, like when I used to teach. But writing music does things for me that nothing else does, including my other creative endeavors. When I was in that period of not writing, I told people it was because I wasn't willing to make the sacrifices 'real' musicians make in order to succeed; that I was too old; that I didn't play guitar well enough; that I wasn't a front man; that nobody wants to hear gay music; that I didn't want to move to Nashville or LA or NYC; that I wasn't attractive enough; that I just didn't want it enough. So there was no point in doing it. Some of them said I should write for my own sake, as a hobby that no one else needed to hear. And maybe that works for some folks. But without the prospect of an audience - even an audience of one - I found my motivation to write went way way down.

Having said that, I don't crave the spotlight, but I do need to be heard. I've pared down what really makes me happy in all this to just the writing and the occasional performance. I don't expect anybody in the biz to pick up one of my songs, but I want to keep learning and getting better at it. Because my idea of a successful sing has to, first, please me. But anybody can write a self-indulgent song that they like and no one else does. So, second, the artistry for me comes in writing a song that many others also can connect to. Isn't that why every single one of you post your work in the muse - to connect? Isn't that what makes great art? Don't lots of competent artists paint technically perfect paintings that ignite no spark in anyone? We anoint 'true artists' as those who create paintings that many people connect with. Same with music. i don't depend on anyone's approval in my music, but a voice crying alone in the wilderness is still alone in the wilderness.

No, I don't expect to change THE world with my music, but I do hope to change MY world, the little piece of the world I can touch.

Like you, Jonie, I don't write all the time. When I'm on to something good, I fall in love with it, and am unable to start any other song (worth anything) until I've gotten over the 'crush' stage of it, usually about two weeks. I try to write or sing everyday, because Luck Favors the Well-Prepared. Or as someone once said, The More I Practice, The Luckier I Get.

But I wax on.

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 06:48 AM

View Postjimski23, on Jan 23 2010, 05:20 AM, said:

as someone once said, The More I Practice, The Luckier I Get.


Gary Player, the golfer, I believe. Great quote!
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Posted 23 January 2010 - 07:22 AM

Secretary! How dare you! I'm an Administrative Assistant. :lol:

Seriously, I love my job and derive much personal satisfaction from a productive day's work. It may not be what I do best but I bring my best to it.

Quote

In other words, you take away what people do best, and they got nothin' left. Like I said, they could find other things to do, but I'd venture to say they'd be VERY unhappy in life if they had to do other than what is in their hearts.


I don't agree with this, Teri. I think there are many, and I include myself in that number, who realize that life is lived best when your heart is in every endeavor.

It's a rare few who are fortunate enough to earn a living doing what they love doing in their spare time, even those with a talent for it.

I would expect those that fail to come to terms with this reality are indeed unhappy a good deal of the time.
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Posted 23 January 2010 - 07:26 AM

I tell my kids that you need 3 things in life to be happy (assuming one is physically pain-free and has decent mental health)

A dry place to sleep
Food in your belly
Someone who loves you

Anything else is icing on the cake. Happiness is a choice. Be happy you have cake and don't be unhappy at a lack of icing :)
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"When I was 5 years old, my mum always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wante to be when I grew up. I wrote down, "Happy". The told me I didn't understand the assignment and I told them they didn't understand life." John Lennon.

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 08:29 AM

View Postjonie, on Jan 22 2010, 09:40 PM, said:

For a few years, sometime back, I was obsessed with writing. I think I was using it as an escape from my bad marriage. I was writing lots back then, short stories, lyrics, I even started on a novel.

These days I write when the mood hits me or when I feel compelled to do so by a Muse competition. But I find trying to write a lyric when I feel no particular inclination to do so, usually results in a lyric that looks like a lyric I felt no particular inclination to write. My documents folder is full of those.

When the mood does hit me, though, and I feel I'm on to something, it's like falling in love. I'm obsessed with it, until it's done. It's a great feeling because it's not an everyday occurrence or even a monthly occurrence. It doesn't disrupt my life and I'm grateful for that.

I understand the feeling of "having" to write, and for me, it stemmed from a need to escape. I'm not sure where it stems from, in others.

Reading this . . . I can pretty much say DITTO! I'm not a prolific writer at all right now . . . but I was during a particularly tough time.

The mood and inclination to write seems to come in waves. I'm perfectly okay with that.

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 09:20 AM

I think I'm a better screenwriter than I am songwriter, but it's much easier to release some emotion and express myself in a song than it is writing a 90+ page script. Also much easier and somewhat safer to get feedback on songs. (My screenplays go only to my older brother and some friends, never online for review, I'm quite scared with my screenplays of what I tell new songwriters not to be, that someone will steal them, even though the list of why it wouldn't happen is equally as long for each medium)
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Posted 23 January 2010 - 10:35 AM

FD,

I know I've mentioned this before - but you should check out Script Frenzy!

http://www.scriptfrenzy.org/

Kinda like FAWM for script writers - in fact, I think the idea for Script Frenzy was born on the FAWM site.

:P Just do it ya chicken!

:D
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Posted 23 January 2010 - 03:16 PM

I agree, Mark. Take the plunge. You'll never know until you try. The worst you'll get is a rejection slip with no comments at all. (You toss those in the garbage straight away). Try a few more times and you're bound to get a rejection notice with some helpful comments on why your work wasn't what they were looking for or what they found lacking. At least it allows you to revisit your work with some new insight. It's not easy but, if you're as good as you think you are ( :lol: ) you may eventually hit pay dirt with something that is now only collecting dust.

I too get more gratification out of completing a lyric but only because the gratification is immediate. I'm impatient, at the core. :)
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Posted 23 January 2010 - 04:54 PM

Great thread! I posted earlier, and wrote about how I feel like I "have to" write what comes into my head. I don't think it's a matter of doing it to keep my sanity. In fact, songwriting and performing sometimes make me crazy. Often I need to step back and re-establish perspective.
I've been teaching middle school and high school for 15 years. It is rewarding, and I feel I have made a difference in many, many young people's lives. I have tried my best to be a good husband and father, and I think my wife and our daughter are happy with the job I'm doing.
I believe that the single most important thing in life is to be good to others. I try really hard to do that, and in that way I do my tiny part to make the world a better place. Yet still, I get jealous when other local performers get gigs that I do not. I hear new music on NPR by young folkies and I think, I could do that so much better. I wonder why more people don't buy my CDs or come to my shows. Still, I guess, a part of me equates leaving a mark on the world with being famous, or at least more popular. It's immature, but I can't help it.
Now, I know that what I'm writing about here has more to do with what happens after the songs are written. But if I didn't write the songs in the first place, I wouldn't record them, perform them, and put them out there for people to hear and judge.
Before I sign off on this long, rambling post, I want to address what a couple others mentioned about how writing got them through some tough times. I used writing to get through some difficult times in my late 20s. Now, I only write when I'm in a really good mood - I can even write a sad song when I'm feeling happy.

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 05:52 PM

This is very interesting. I don't have a degree , so this only my opinion by observing and life experience.
Yes I do feel I have to write. It's unexplainable. I've been writing poetry and lyrics (the tunes are in my head) since the 3rd grade. Maybe we are word gatherers or word keepers. In listening , observing and thinking,... poems , lyrics and tunes just form and come tumbling out. I don't know how to stop it and really don't want to.

We writers can see the very same thing ,but when we write about it , our ideas are totally different. Same with experiences we have had. We all have our individual take on everything. That's what is so great.

I love reading all the posts on the muse. You can see we are all indiviuals in our way of thinking. It never ceases to amaze me how there is always something new to learn or experience. Everyday is a gift to be cherished.
Imagine a world without songs and poems. I can't. The songs from the 50's take me instantly back in time.
I'm glad to see so many feel that they pretty much "have to write".

In the end it doesn't matter how or why, but that we all just keep writing and playing music. It's got to be a "win win" at the very least.

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 03:24 AM

i dont HAVE TO write songs. I just do it 4 fun.i hav written lyrics 4 a band, but i gave them way too many lyrics. but i still continue writing, trying to look 4 a new band or some music.

i am also an amatuer author. lol

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 07:52 AM

View Postjonie, on Jan 23 2010, 06:22 AM, said:

Secretary! How dare you! I'm an Administrative Assistant. :lol:


Sorry about that, Jonie! I used to be an Administrative Assistant, too, which was very satisfying at the time, but now I am into music, and I just hope I don't have to go back to being an Admin Assist because it is not in my soul anymore.
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Posted 24 January 2010 - 03:48 PM

View PostTeri, on Jan 24 2010, 07:52 AM, said:

View Postjonie, on Jan 23 2010, 06:22 AM, said:

Secretary! How dare you! I'm an Administrative Assistant. :lol:


Sorry about that, Jonie! I used to be an Administrative Assistant, too, which was very satisfying at the time, but now I am into music, and I just hope I don't have to go back to being an Admin Assist because it is not in my soul anymore.


No problem. True, it's a soulless job but someone's got to do it. Besides, it helps pay the bills now that Daddy's in prison for that insider trading thingy.
We have now sunk to a depth at which re-statement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.
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Posted 24 January 2010 - 04:49 PM

Great thread. I thoroughly enjoyed reading everyone's posts. I guess no one "has to" write songs, but you don't have to eat right or exercise either. I'm absolutely in agreement with those who said writing is good for their health and well-being. And Jim hit it on the head for me, so what if I don't change the whole world, it changes the world around me.
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Posted 24 January 2010 - 08:30 PM

Alistair
I really like what you posted .

Theresa

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Posted 08 May 2010 - 09:20 PM

View PostSatanInventedBras, on 19 January 2010 - 01:00 PM, said:

I do not have to write any particular genre, but I do have to write. I wouldn't put myself in the "songwriter" category, anyway. Aspiring lyricist, yes - but I'm more of a poet.

To write is a compulsion, but I do not find it a chore, at all.

Love your username. Unfortunately, my husband seems to be a devil-worshipper. I just recently suffered a massive burst of creativity--drawing, knitting, making jewelry. Then I got a terrible crush on a folk-rock singer who is young enough to be my son and lives 2500 miles away from me and started writing song lyrics (I majored in Creative Writing at a Fine Arts high school). Now I can't seem to stop. Maybe my meds need adjusting... :D

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Posted 20 May 2010 - 07:17 PM

Most days, nobody's holding a gun to my head. And so far, nobody's taken me prisoner and demanded a song of tribute to win my freedom back.

My life wouldn't collapse like a house of cards without songwriting. It's just one vehicle of thought--the little reply boxes that we bang around in right here on this site are another form, as are short stories, novels, conversation... the key appeal to songwriting for me is the intellectual challenge combined with aesthetic pleasure and emotional involvement. It challenges, stimulates, and moves me, and I always hope to have that same effect on listeners.

So no, I don't have to. But I choose to, almost every day. Thanks for this thread. I want to go write now.

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Posted 20 May 2010 - 07:48 PM

My answer would be yes. I was once told by a producer with an insane amount of songs in his catalog that has had very little published, that he creates because he has to. Just like a poet, or a painter that has to express themselves in that way every day. I sing and write, so I might not have to specifically write a song every day. However, I am usually involved in creating music in some form or fashion on a daily basis. Whether it is writing songs, writing lyrics for others, recording my songs, or recording demos for others - it is pretty much daily. When I don't, I feel as if I am standing still. It's nearly always on my mind.

View PostAMereHobbyist, on 17 January 2010 - 04:39 AM, said:

Do you "have to" write songs, and why?

This question, asked out of sheer curiosity, was sparked in a roundabout way by the February album writing month reminder.

I can understand that anyone determined (however delusionally) to make their fortune from writing songs will feel compelled to churn out new material regularly. I can also understand how people actively involved in performing/recording on a regular basis might want a steady stream of novel material to work with...
but are there any other reasons that people just can't lay off writing?

It takes quite a lot to get me writing at all now and I never could do it routinely – but sometimes an event, a memory, a musical notion of some kind will set me off and produce a small collection of related material before another long hiatus.

In 2009 I haven't produced a single new recording... but then nor did I in 1997 – 1999. This isn’t writer’s block - it’s just having no need to write/perform for a while and doing other things instead. I expect I will write an album's worth of new songs (younger readers may well ask "what's an album?" LOL) during 2010, and maybe all the songs will be actually written within a month, but the thought of committing to writing a set number of songs in a month, as in FAWM, doesn't appeal at all.

There was a time when it amused me to enter competitions/challenge myself etc. (I still work this way occasionally with purely instrumental pieces, which I tend to write on a self-education basis) but now I only ever write songs (i.e. music and lyrics combined) that want to come out. My own answer to my question is still yes, I have to write songs, but only when I'm sufficiently inspired - the rest of the time it could only be "keeping in practice", and after 30-odd years I think an occasional rest does me no harm.

Frank.

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Posted 20 May 2010 - 08:51 PM

I don't believe it's a question of "have to" so much. For me, it's more a matter of "I can, so I do." Once you know you have a knack with words and metre and melody, and you devote at least a modicum of formal education toward understanding the mechanics that "having the knack for" doesn't cover, it's pretty impossible on a lot of levels to ever stop writing songs. Like Alistair, I "quit" writing for over 20 years while I focused my energies on developeing my business. But all through those years, I never really quit. Every now and then a phrase would catch my ear and I'd think to myself (or even comment to whoever was with me) "Now that would make a great hook." Or sometimes friends or family would point out a certain song on the charts at the time and want to know my opinion, as a writer, what made it so good/not so good. So you never really quit. You just let it rest and soak up more of life to put into in the future.

When I started writing (sometime back in the Neolithic Era :D ), it was an outlet to exercise my demons. Somewhere, probably a couple of years into it, I discovered I had a knack and could do it all day, every day, didn't matter the subject, I could pen you a passable piece in under 24 hours. Of course, the operative word here is "passable", not "masterpiece". That's probably one of the reasons I quit back then. I couldn't see, as a young man, spending my life searching for that one masterpiece, or more. A fella's gotta' eat, and masterpiece quester doesn't play so well on your resume.

Since I resumed writing a couple of years ago, I've found a perspective and wisdom to my work I could never have manufactured as a young writer because you can only learn those kind of lessons with time. My work is deeper, more clever (too clever sometimes according to my girlfriend, and she's probably right), and instead of using it to cast out my demons like I used to, I use it now to better understand myself, my relationships, and the world around me. It's become my confessor, my chronicler, my friend. I'm more selective in what I say and how I say it. It is my testament that I was here, I observed, I interacted, I remembered, and I used my gifts to the best of my abilities to leave accurate snapshots of this life. Whether or not my work is published in my lifetime is not important to me anymore. Only that what I leave behind is good. Why? Because I can. Not that I have to. Just because I can.

Peace,
J.

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Posted 21 May 2010 - 11:03 AM

I find this thread very interesting - it's good to hear other people stories.

I started writing songs a couple of years ago in a fit of mid life crisis creativity. Everyone here seems to have been writing since they were young but not me - I played in a band in my teens but writing songs never occurred to me. Looking back now I realise that the person I was then wouldn't have recognised an emotion if it bit me on the foot and songs need true emotional content. I never felt much back then - now, after marriage, children and life in general, I'm an emotional incontinent. I wrote over 100 songs in about 18 months (most if not all not very good of course but satisfying to me) and was completely obsessed by the process and results.

In the last year pressure of work (thank you world financial crisis!) has drastically reduced my music time and my muse has deserted me. So in answer to the question "do I have to write" the answer is no, but my life has been so enriched by songwriting that not being able to (at the moment) is not a nice feeling.

I'm hoping it will come back if I ever get the time . . .

BP
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Posted 26 July 2010 - 01:10 PM

View PostAMereHobbyist, on 17 January 2010 - 10:39 AM, said:

Do you "have to" write songs, and why?

This question, asked out of sheer curiosity, was sparked in a roundabout way by the February album writing month reminder.

I can understand that anyone determined (however delusionally) to make their fortune from writing songs will feel compelled to churn out new material regularly. I can also understand how people actively involved in performing/recording on a regular basis might want a steady stream of novel material to work with...
but are there any other reasons that people just can't lay off writing?

It takes quite a lot to get me writing at all now and I never could do it routinely – but sometimes an event, a memory, a musical notion of some kind will set me off and produce a small collection of related material before another long hiatus.

In 2009 I haven't produced a single new recording... but then nor did I in 1997 – 1999. This isn’t writer’s block - it’s just having no need to write/perform for a while and doing other things instead. I expect I will write an album's worth of new songs (younger readers may well ask "what's an album?" LOL) during 2010, and maybe all the songs will be actually written within a month, but the thought of committing to writing a set number of songs in a month, as in FAWM, doesn't appeal at all.

There was a time when it amused me to enter competitions/challenge myself etc. (I still work this way occasionally with purely instrumental pieces, which I tend to write on a self-education basis) but now I only ever write songs (i.e. music and lyrics combined) that want to come out. My own answer to my question is still yes, I have to write songs, but only when I'm sufficiently inspired - the rest of the time it could only be "keeping in practice", and after 30-odd years I think an occasional rest does me no harm.

Frank.


I work exactly the same way as you do Frank, i only write songs when i'm 100% inspired to do so. I did the forcing songs thing out a while back and most of them went straight into the vaults, never to see the light of day cause they were truly awful! I wrote a very small amount of songs in 2009 (probably 10 in all), this year i've written significantly more new material,i will either continue to be inspired and write lot and lots more new stuff, or the inspiration will wear off and i wont write again for months (although i do pick up my guitar every day for a quick jam)
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Posted 18 October 2010 - 02:05 AM

I think of songwriting as my passion, something that i really enjoy doing. I do not think of it as a chore as i enjoy the whole process of it.

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 07:52 PM

interesting topic

most song writers i know change their motivations throughout their lives. it usually starts to get girls. skills develop, you see how your songs affect some people and the inspiration takes on a new life. life happens, breaks are taken, its a constant circle of changing motivations.

i do it for passion but i'm also fighting a demon right now that wants me to not finish songs, slave over mundane details, etc. i'm on a mission to beat this demon and become a prolific, consistent song writer. i set goals. my main goal isn't to be signed, but to make an album that i myself consider an all time great album for my genre (even if the masses don't agree!) :P But its never work, its always a fun challenge.

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    my great love are lyrics and writing…
    I joined this forum in the hope of finding aspiring musicians/songwriters who would be interested in a collaboration and put my words to music.
    If anyone should be interested in a collaboration, please leave me a message or contact me via email plavi.mesec@freenet.de
    I am looking very forward to hear from you…

    Thank you in advance,
    Best regards,
    Petar

Posted 02 January 2011 - 11:17 AM

I love to write... the same way like some people like to smoke... or to dance... though there are sometimes also very long periods, sometimes even years that i am "abstinent"... I try to write all the ideas that I have on pieces of paper to use them by an occasion, but sometimes also this blocks me, too many ideas waiting to be realized can have a paralyzing effect (at least on me). I enjoy in the creative process by being a witness and at the same time the culprit while new lyrics are born though I think I have never been completely content with the result after it was written for the 1st time... most of my lyrics have been revised several times and I like to read them from time to time and to corrct those things for that i believe they could have been made better. all in all, without writing, honestly, I think I would miss a very very precious part of my life...

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 12:51 PM

It's a romantic notion that you "have to" write songs, the way Moira Shearer in "The Red Shoes" "had to" dance. Physiological reality aside, I probably lean toward that Moira Shearer kind of compulsion. I've always got to be fiddling around with a guitar or bass in my hand when I'm awake. I wouldn't want to keep going if I couldn't do that.

As for lyrics, they are my challenge. Conversely, they are these compelling puzzles, math problems, and cryptograms on which I work in my quiet moments. Though I struggle with the product, I enjoy the process of lyric writing. Lyric writing has been getting easier over the last two years. You learn some technique, and what personal experiences imbue what you write with emotion, and evoke that emotional truth. It seems that any one person only has a small handful of those experiences upon which to draw-and thousands of songs to write from them.

Example: Of all the heartbreaks I've suffered, there is only one heartbreak, one woman, who inspires my songs. That is not to say that I ever want to see her again. I avoid her like the plague, and she knows it. I neither want, nor need, to see her again. For me, you know that our relationship is going well if I haven't used you for a song. I've since had happier loves, and, thankfully, no songs to show for them.

Songs come from her memory-many different ones, of varying genres and voices. You'd never even know it was coming from the same emotional resource to hear any two of them played consecutively. You just have to pick your few strongly-evocative memories, and you reshape them as many different ways as you can.

It doesn't have to be romantic loss. It can be any sort of stongly evocative experience.

We all experience emotional reactions differently from each other. It's the description of those emotions that distinguish our songs from anyone else's.

So, yeah, I write music in my head all the time in spite of myself; I can't keep my hands off of an instrument; and I need a release for a handful of strong emotional experiences. I "have to" write songs.

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