Songwriting Challenge Week 12


I spent most of Week 12 in Cornwall hanging out with a friend, recuperating, writing and reading. I wrote a song very quickly one morning from some rough lines I had in my notebook. They seemed to call out for me to do something with them, so it was just a 2-section, simple chord thing. Very minor, sad, gloomy. Very me. The whole thing still needs a bit of polishing but is essentially ready to go.


My friend Anna and I also wrote a song together with full chords, melody, structure etc, and made a start on a lyrical theme but have not crystallised that last part yet. We were trying to get some kind of underworld, transvestite gangster subplot into the lyrics of a 3-4 minute pop song and have not got it tailored to fit yet.

It was great fun doing it though, and quick. It worked so well and fluidly I think because neither of us was saying ‘no’ to anything, always accepting each other’s ideas and adding to them. Or, one of us would give to 2 choices as to where we could take it, the other would choose and off we went, always keeping with the playful, experimental side, allowing the whackier ideas to play out and show their usefulness. It’s a catchy little number too.

I’m looking forward to finishing the song and doing more collaborations soon.


So, at the end of 3 months in, it turns out I have 5-7 songs finished, depending on how far along or how happy I am with them. I plan on having some rough demos of things up soon.


There’s also a hell of a lot more work to do on unfinished stuff. The key is to keep doing it. I can already feel a difference in how I approach songs.

More importantly, I feel like I’m not quite there yet. I can feel myself in mid-air if you will, and where I land will be quite different.

I’m at a stage where some things are happening now very quickly although very nebulously, so I get a finished piece but it seems cloudy, misshapen. I don’t really have any idea what it is, but I celebrate because I AM creating. It is my job to create and not to judge – at least that’s the received Artist Way wisdom on the subject.


I also sense instinctively that it is only the beginning, and that I have to keep it up and it will really go somewhere. The writing will improve as I go along and find myself within this different context of working. I am slowly shifting my efforts from the excruciatingly involved method of writing I have used where a songs can take months even years to develop – the results of which I’m very happy with – I just need change and variety as well as wider knowledge.  I still have that patience to not call things finished until they are, and they meet certain standards, but I’m also exploring much more the spontaneous side and trying to combine the two, just experimenting.




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