When your filing system is a Plastic carrier bag
Last time I wrote a lot about being more professional and not treating songwriting as a hobby. Well the way I started lyric writing was far from professional!
In the early days, if you had you asked to see any of my lyric ideas, this might have caused me some embarrassment. I literally had them stored in a plastic carrier bag. It was never the plan, but I often found that I had an idea and only had access to scraps of paper to get them down. This was 20 years+ ago, no smart phones available. I once even called my house phone from a hotel in Berlin to record my melody idea on the answerphone!
I moved onto the notebook or the more romantic sounding ‘lyric book’ after those days, but in a later blog I’ll tell you what happened to all those ideas in the plastic bag.
In this business it might seem like luck to be writing on a hit song because the right people, or the right vibe was in the room. But no matter how good all that is, if there are no ideas or something to start the process off, there will be no song.
It’s not luck, its preparation and opportunity.
I once turned up to a two hour writing session in London with a successful music producer. I knew the title of the song to be written, so in advance I had prepared some thoughts on what it could mean, ideas of a storyline, potential images, and possible lines. On arrival it gave me a great head start on the song, so much so that after an hour and half Song 1 was done, and we moved onto another! That was where my ideas lists and title ideas kicked in again, and after another hour Song 2 was in the bag (this time not a plastic bag!).
When the idea strikes, get it down somehow, and at that stage don’t reject or lose any ideas. Do not assume you will remember it in the morning or even half an hour later. It’s about capturing the moment of inspiration so that when you need to produce a lyric, you already have some great ideas ready to go.
Have them organised, so when you turn up to a songwriting session, you are prepared with some ideas, interesting titles, and song plots ready to contribute.
If the song direction changes, maybe you’ll need to look at that reserve idea list and see what else you have to offer, so always be able to access all of your ideas no matter where you are.
I have three documents with these in: Titles, Strong one line lyrics, Song parts (short sections of possible songs). I encourage you to find a system that works for you.
Next time: Bedroom Music Production is all rubbish