5 Occasions When You Should Write a Song
As inspiration will ebb and flow, it can really help to know when it is a good time to write songs. Let me share a few times I have found it best to write songs. These may help you get the creativity flowing so you can write more easily.
Early in the morning or Late at night
What is great about writing early in the morning is that you wake up with a fairly clear ear and mind. You haven’t had time to listen to any music, work on any project or get distracted by the latest Netflix release.
This is helpful for songwriting because it helps you be a bit more objective when listening first thing in the morning to the songs you are currently working on. Then you can adjust anything you hear that sounds off.
Late at night is another great time to write songs. Many artists and creatives tend to be night owls as well. There is something about the solitude of writing at night that helps give you focus, and gives a different perspective on your music. Many musicians write music specifically for night listening.
After going to a concert
As a songwriter, you will begin to see and hear music differently, both live and recorded.
If you go out to see a band or artist you really like, I can almost guarantee you will come home super stoked to work on your own music. And there is nothing as inspiring as having your face melted by your favorite artist at their show and coming home to your instrument to work on your own material.
Embrace the hype and let it fuel your songwriting. Imagine it’s you up there. Might sound cheesy but that is what we are all working towards. To be at the level of the bands and artists that we look up to. If not, then at least to write music as compelling as what we listen to.
When you are emotional
What’s great about music is that you can express emotions in a way that can’t be expressed any other way. You can’t MAKE someone read your mind and feel your feelings. But you CAN write a song that captures your feelings and others will hear it and be able to feel it as well, ideally.
However, beware of the following trap.
I have met musicians before who hold on to their issues because they are afraid that if they become happy, confident and mentally/emotionally healthy they will have nothing left to say or it will make them less creative or not them.
Don’t fall for this trap. Life will give you problems to write about whether you are happy or sad.
You CAN be positive, stable, and highly creative.
You’re also not just going to stop having problems or feeling all bad emotions forever.
Other sources of creativity you can tap into are getting out of your comfort zone, seeking inspiring creative work, being empathetic of others, and being able to see things from multiple angles so you don’t rely on being emotional as a crutch.
So if you are having an emotional moment, use it. But don’t make yourself a mess just so you can have something to write about.
After buying a new instrument or other gear
I don’t know if you’ve had an experience like this, but when I’ve gotten a new guitar, it is like meeting a new person. It has a personality, it has a vibe to it. It speaks its own language.
Every guitar is different, and will bring out different writing ideas from you. I guarantee if you write songs on a strat and then play a les paul you will come up with totally different sounding ideas, because the sounds and the vibe of playing them is so different. Same with writing on different instruments like piano or bass.
And this could be different pieces of gear too. It doesn’t have to be an instrument. It could be an effect pedal, or a new amp, or even just new strings.
So if you just got a shiny new toy, make some time to sit down and jam with it rather than practicing existing material or practicing chops. This is a good time to write a new song.
At all times every day
The best songwriters make writing songs their lifestyle. There is no off button. You hear songs everywhere.
They go on a train and hear it doing a groove in 5/4.
They go to the park and hear Karen screaming at her kid in C5 sharp.
They hear their dog whining a melody in A minor.
The best time to write songs is at all times every day. You can literally write a song with anything you hear today. Just pick a sound and take your phone out and record a voice memo. It can probably be used as a rhythm or melody.
Once you start paying attention to all the sounds you hear on any given day and think about how to make songs out of them, you might even start hearing songs in your sleep. Give it some time and soon you’ll be waking up at 3 in the morning with a melody you heard in a dream.
Wrapping it up
Being a songwriter is an identity level thing. The more you work on writing songs the more you will stop worrying about how often you should be writing a song or when you should be writing a song because you will just be doing it constantly. It’s also ok to take a break every now and then to do something completely unrelated and clear your headspace.
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