Karl’s answer to Q6 “fifty great questions to ask songwriters”

“6. Have you ever abandoned a song idea? Why?”

Absolutely. I’ve abandoned many songs and for various reasons.

It’s pretty normal to feel like your song is “just not happening”, but my handy tip on this is to save the idea for a rainy day. Every idea we have is worth something and is more than likely worth expanding on. It could be put down to our mood at the time of writing, but I tend to think it’s more than that.

There’s something extra special about creative expression that is true. When an expression is true in all it’s totality, there’s a wave that comes and goes that we have to be in tune with. It’s this ebb and flow that separates the great art from the art the doesn’t quite move us.

We may not be “feeling” it, for a number of reasons. Fatigue is one reason I’ve come to accept over many years of pointless perseverance. I still do this even now. Often it’s because I’m not aware of how exhausted I’m am until my head is drooping lower and lower towards the guitar and the ideas are just not flowing. When it’s too much effort, it’s never going to be your best effort.

A clear and energised mind is of course, far from synonymous with musicians and songwriters but my recommendation is to reflect on your songs in the cold light of day. It’s widely know that great songs are written perhaps when there’s another influence at hand! I prefer to suggest that the idea arrived during that time and the articulation of the idea was implemented at another time.

There are many schools and approaches to songwriting. I myself have been involved in all night writing sessions under the influence of…..whatever! And this can be fruitful but the same could be said for all art. It’s hit and miss and that’s an understatement.

If there’s a central thread to your best writing, a reliable mind-space whereby you can assess with clarity and healthy scrutiny? It would have to be when you are feeling energised and not pushed for time. An added bonus would be clean fresh air to breathe in deeply.

We all have our own notepads and scraps of paper and disorganised voice memos and documents and even cassettes and mini discs! This part is important: we did NOT have better ideas for songs back then and we do NOT have better ideas now. The art remains the same, our minds can weave that as they please and “old” ideas should not be considered “old” at all.

If you have a abandoned a song idea yourself? Please, please, please, keep it for a rainy day and if at first glance when you return to it, it still doesn’t strike you as a beauty, look for the gem within. It could be one single word that glistens and becomes your new catalyst for a brilliant new song!

Bye for now

Excerpt From: Broadie, Karl. “Fifty Great Questions to Ask Songwriters.” BN Publishing. iBooks.

Check out this book on the iBookstore: https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewBook?id=561548904


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