Should you force Creativity?

One of my nephews, who is also a songwriter, asked me how I write songs. What is my process in completing a song? He was getting stuck on creating lyrics and was getting frustrated. I suppose he was thinking I have a formula. If you were to look up the word creativity you would find that one meaning is to invent something new, something tangible that was once just an idea…something in your imagination or just a thought. I believe true creativity comes from our “inner selves”. I get a “gut” reaction to create maybe without even a single chord or progression in mind or a melody or lyric. Sometimes all of it just flows from within. And the chords, melody, and lyrics all happen at the same time. Other times I may have a melody in my head and that’s it. Then I play around with some chords and see what lyrics flow with that progression and rhythm that I am creating. Sometimes a lyric will just “pop out” with a melody and the mood of the song is set. Life does get in the way sometimes so, I may start something and have to come back to it much later. I have the luxury of not having to write five songs in a day because of a deadline and payment being withheld. I don’t subscribe to having to write songs like its a race or a competition or to write in a predefined manner. For me, all my songs have a piece of “me” in them. Sometimes they are inspired by others and their life circumstances, but still, “I” am “in” the song. So, what I said to my nephew in writing lyrics…tell a story worth telling. Have each verse progress your story. Use images, be descriptive so that the listener goes someplace with you. Have your syllables and phrasing in sync with the rhythm and the feel of song. Songwriting is an art form. Art should not be forced…in my humble opinion. I am still “working” on my art…Be well!

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