A process is defined as “… a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular goal.” As for a songwriting process, that goal is of course the completion of a song.
Songs are what makes this music industry go round and the more that songwriters are encouraged, educated and (most importantly) empowered about their own creative workflow, the better off this music business will be.
How you write your songs, from the initial spark of a songwriting idea to the final stroke of your pen, all comes down to how you work your creative process.
Now, there are as many variations to the songwriting process as there are songwriters in the world; however, I sincerely believe that there are five pillars to a songwriting process. How effective your songwriting is depends on how you handle these five pillars which create the foundation of your songwriting process.
Below is a brief outline of the five pillars…
Pillar #1 – YOU! The Songwriter
This first pillar deals with YOU, the songwriter, what goes on between the ears and the environment you choose to work in because a song can’t be written if you’re not there to write it.
A songwriter’s process always starts with their state of mental, physical and spiritual health. A good state of physical and mental health means a healthy output of songs.
Pillar #2 – The Foundation
Any creation requires a process to allow it to happen. This second pillar is all about creating the foundation to gain opportunities for inspiration to work on creating a song.
It’s important to create the right environment to be open to songwriting ideas as they spring up at any time.
Pillar #3 – The Creation
This third pillar is all about actually writing the song from the spark of a songwriting idea to its first draft completion. It’s about the beginnings of creating something from nothing.
A song can be created from a number of means either individually or together at the same time.
Pillar #4 – The Revision
This fourth pillar is all about the song revision process. Once a song is written is it the end? NO!
Great songwriters will revise and rewrite their song to make sure that it’s the best song that it can be. Great songwriters will also know when it’s time to stop revising and start finishing.
This is where you can finally unleash your inner critic to do its thing. This pillar allows your inner voice to have a positive role within your songwriting process.
Pillar #5 – The Business
This final pillar is all about the business of songwriting and the possibilities of what you can do with the finished product. It’s where you ask the question of yourself “what is the reason for this song’s existence?”
- Is it to be played at gigs?
- Is it for another artist?
- Is it a therapeutic/cathartic experience
- Is it a stepping stone to the next song?
- Am I going to allow it to be licensed to somebody else?
All intentions for the finished song are valid and will be taken into consideration as part of the songwriting process.
If you pay attention to and integrate these five pillars into your songwriting process you’ll find that you’ll be a more productive, efficient, creative and self aware songwriter. You’ll finish more songs than you start and you’ll not be afraid of songwriters’ block, procrastination, the blank page or your inner critic.
In fact, they will all be your friends.
I intend to explore the many facets of these five pillars through created and curated content in future posts, so if you have any questions you want answered regarding your songwriting process or, you have your own experiences you want to share, please let me know.