For I wanted to specifically share some writing tips with y’all. I’ve made these practices my own, but they are things others have shared along the way with me. Hope they help you out!
- The Funnel– when you have a topic of something you’d like to write, but don’t know exactly how to channel it, start writing all of your thoughts down on paper. All of them, whether they seem sane or not. The more the better. After you feel like the list is just about as big as you can get it (like you’ve filled up a whole sheet of paper), start circling the things you like the most and eventually funnel it into a smaller list. This practice helps open your mind and your song to more than it originally could have been. It works!
- Word Hunting– Look through a newspaper or phone book, etc. and start circling cool words that jump out. Sounds simple, but this has really inspired me in times I’d otherwise be blocked. It’s like a gardener stumbling upon a new variety of flowers and going home and planting them right in front of his kitchen window. There are so many words out there and writing is basically strategically putting the right ones together. Finding standout words, really strengthens writing. It might not all make sense at first, but it’s amazing how eventually you can puzzle piece them into the perfect combination, that gets the desired point across in a more wow way.
- The Thesaurus is Your Friend- On the same thread, words really count. If you’re feeling like your song, or story or whatever is sub-par, but the subject is spot-on, then in most cases you need to return to the words. Eyeball them like vultures and see which ones are dead. Then search them in the thesaurus, scratch scratch scratch them out, and fill their void with the most thought-provoking synonym that makes sense.
- Ask Around- You know who has a pretty good idea of what music will do well? People who buy and listen to music (aka your followers). Same goes for other forms of writing and the people that read it. I have had the sweetest people in my life appreciate my music and I want to do them proud and provide meaningful tunes for them. So, one day I decided to throw up a contest on my FB page, telling them they get to ask for a song they wanted written and that the winning idea would be rewarded with that song. I got some good submissions, but the one that touched my heart the most was from a woman, Joy Drage, who dearly loved her late Downs Syndrome brother, Dan Patrick Downey, and wanted a song about the goodness of special needs individuals. I loved her idea, and didn’t really know of any songs like it. From her thought, I created “For the Better” and dedicated it to special needs individuals and their families. It’s one of my favorite songwriting experiences. You can watch the music video here: https://youtu.be/AkhqarqKQzA Dan is the cool guy snapping his suspenders and getting down on the dance floor.
I’ve already mentioned in previous Tuesday Tips about getting out there and being inspired through seeing new places, being brave and by being influenced by other creators that you admire. This all ties together.
I have learned a lot from other artists as well like Rob Giles. I saw him play once at a small venue when I was 16 years old. His music was quirky and out there… HE BROKE THE RULES! If you are creating, you might as well create however you want right?? It doesn’t have to sound like the radio or another song that has already been heard. His music that night eventually told me to follow him out to the parking lot like a little stalker after the show and talk to him. “Rob… what you just did in there…” fell out of my mouth and turned into a friendly conversation about setting fears aside and tapping into the subconscious (who deserves a lot more creative freedom than we allow it). He reminded me a lot of Ned Shneebly (Jack Black) on School of Rock with his enthusiasm about creating. Very kewl dude. Even though we have different inspirations, he reminded me “Brave is Good.”
So, with Tuesday in full bloom, I hope you start to loosen up the thoughts in your head and shake them down onto paper, open your eyes to new words, and be brave enough to let your inner quirk freeeeee to do it’s thang. Boring is no good, being unique is all good!