Object Writing, Prose & Poetry Forum

Songwriting Hints and Tips => Songwriting Hints and Tips => Topic started by: benjamin on December 06, 2016, 05:38:25 AM

Title: A good idea
Post by: benjamin on December 06, 2016, 05:38:25 AM

It might sound as a stupid question, but when do you know you got a good idea? When do you have a muse? When do you know you found your writing voice?

I'm really struggling with finding great idea's that keeps me going. Which I keep loving after some time.

Thanks in advance.


Title: Re: A good idea
Post by: GLMansell on December 07, 2016, 03:18:42 PM
Hey brother,

It's different for each individual person, everyone has their own idea of what "good" is in their standards, so really in this case it's in the eye of the beholder. Inspiration has the funny ability to hit you randomly no matter where you are or what you're doing, that's why it's important as a writer/poet to carry around some sort of recording device whether it's your phone or a simple pen and paper. Other than those rare moments, you have to knock on the door so to speak and hope it's home. Some stuff I personally do when I'm running on empty is changing some environmental aspect of my daily living, whether I try writing in the driveway, or at the beach, or at Publix, etc. When I'm exposed to a refreshing environment, ideas seem to reappear for a while. Another thing I do is "mind-dumping" over the paper, where I put on a timer, similar to the object writing on here, and simply embrace Freud's ideas of the unconscious. Instead of thinking of how I feel, I let my brain tell me how I feel by putting down random thoughts and association. This gives me a lot of junk to shift through, but sometimes when you're not thinking about it you can come up with a pretty sweet line. Do that enough times and you have a bunch of sweet lines, then you can try jumbling them together how you want, editing and revising in the process. Also read a lot, it makes you smarterer every day.

Much luck to you friend

Title: Re: A good idea
Post by: benjamin on December 08, 2016, 04:41:07 PM
Thanks for the reply, but it tended to be more about inspiration. Maybe I should've stated my question differently.

What if you think you have a great idea at first, but when time passes it turns more and more into crap, something lifeless. Do you leave it for what it is? Pick it up later? Or just go through that insecure feeling and keep working on it?

That Frued's idea of the unconsious, can you gave an example of that? And in what differs your "mind-dumping" method from object writing?

Thanks again!

Title: Re: A good idea
Post by: GLMansell on December 09, 2016, 04:35:56 PM
No idea is ever crap, it just has a different place. Always save your ideas, even if they eventually grow worthless in your eyes, because you may come up with another idea that revitalizes the older idea. Now you have two great ideas to form a bigger, better idea. It's all about collecting, managing, and fitting together different combinations of ideas until you finally develop something you can really be proud of. It's kind of like science, failure is an old-friend, however ideas don't fly out of the door. They're tinkered, used, put away, brought back out, tinkered again, and so forth. Or, you could compare it to a 1,000 piece puzzle. It's overwhelming at first because of so many possible combinations that you could attempt, however there is only one correct fit. You could approach it algorithmically, trying EVERY piece and eventually getting an accurate answer, but that takes a looooong time. Think of that as thinking of an idea, but trashing it because it doesn't seem any worth, so you try coming up with from-scratch ideas until you find a good one. Personally, I find that tedious and detrimental towards motivation. Now you could try using heuristics, which is like a "mental shortcut or strategy" that isn't quite as accurate, but it's faster. Take a handful of older ideas that didn't make the cut the first time and play around with them, add to them, delete things, revise others, anything to make something different than already experienced. Note the word is different, of course it won't always work, but now you have even more ammunition to use for later ideas. We as poets, writers, etc. are basically wordsmiths, we take different words and combine them to create "alloys," or sentences to further stick together to form paragraphs.

Well, Freud's thoughts on the unconscious consist of darker, psychosexual theories of human cognition. But his approach in psychoanalytic therapy can be utilized in other aspects of art. Put a recorder, or  piece of paper, or etc. in front of you and expose yourself to a new or comfortable setting, your choice. Now say a word or phrase out-loud, stop thinking about the "right" word and just say/write it. Now say another one, and another, and another, don't even worry about it making sense or grammar mechanics. Hell you could even sketch a mental image if that's what got your fancy. The point of this exercise is using free association, where you attempt to evoke malleable thoughts from your unconscious without letting cognitive reasoning and logic filter anything. That's mind-dumping, you don't shift and organize your thoughts, you just grab a shovelful and splay it out on a page. Object writing is similar, it uses the case of a limited time frame to force your brain into a stressful position to think creatively while also being practical in how you write. But it's more of an exercise to help develop descriptive abilities and flow in writing, which is essential for any author. Imagine a pool with a handful of diamonds floating around in the bottom. Mind-dumping is like removing buckets of water until you find the diamonds, object writing is like diving in the pool and searching for the diamonds before you run out of air.

Title: Re: A good idea
Post by: John M on February 23, 2017, 12:12:01 AM
my thoughts.. whether it's a concept or a hook or a feeling, a good idea should naturally spark an ocean of ideas, those ideas could be content for verses or other segments of the song, your job is to essentially elaborate on this idea as much as you can with use of your verse, chorus, bridge (whatever) to bring it to life. there are times when i write 5 or 6 verses to a song, of course i don't need all of those verses to make my point, and it may lead to a song that feels too long, so essentially i pick my favorites that allow for the best story telling to bring out the overall essence of my song. more on this below...

i had this revelation recently, it changed the entire way i write songs and made it a whole hell of a lot easier to finish them. the number one thing you can do in my opinion, is to take your idea, (even if you have no inspiration), and begin to write. force yourself to hum a melody, force yourself to add gibberish words to it, force yourself to finish each line, force yourself to finish out the verse, force yourself to write a chorus, no matter how shitty it is. do it, complete it, and move on.

great artists and songwriters are often a result of the quantity of music they create, not necessarily quality. your writing process will evolve and it WILL become more natural for you. Don't get hung up on 'this next song needs to be the greatest song ever heard by mankind.' this is a false way to approach music and can hinder your overall creativity. i believe creativity is the ability to pick and choose from an array of ideas (hopefully most of them are your own, but its totally okay if you use other's), bring them together and arrange them in an effective manner. originality stems from your ability to do this well.

i may be getting a little off topic here, but here would be my tips:

1. write every single day (do the object writing exercise from this site every single day, read what others write, ask yourself 'why' certain words and phrases stick out and why others fail, let your instinct be your guide. you can also be critical, and if you have criticisms, VOICE THEM.  (at least 10-15 minutes each day, its not too much to ask if you are serious about songwriting). write freely, with no point or purpose, just let the words flow, LET IT NOT MAKE SENSE.

2. sit down and force yourself to write a song a day, it does not matter how long it is, doesn't matter how shitty it is, write a song a day and be done with it. when you have written 10, 20, or even 50 songs, the GOOD ones will float to the surface on their own and the shit songs will sink and be forgotten. in other words, you won't have to WORK as hard for the quality of your song. there is no shame in writing a terrible song, again, QUANTITY is the goal. When you hit 10 songs, look back at the first song you wrote, you'll notice improvement, trust me!

3. have fun with it! inspiration is nothing without creativity, and its damn near impossible to be creative if you aren't having any fun with it. you are your own writer, your own voice, don't try to be anything other than that. use your influences to guide you when you need guidance, but let your voice ring out naturally, the words will flow. you'll find yourself writing some pretty whack shit too! i literally have these moments when i sing out a line and start cracking up immediately at how ridiculous it is!

4. don't worry about being original off the bat, just focus on being you, originality will follow. i am a firm believer that the great artists of the world are not people that reinvent the wheel over and over again, its already been done for you so stop breaking your neck trying to do it 'better!' great artists absorb the things around, gather the ideas of the people around them, maybe even 'steal' lines or melodies from their favorite songs, your job is to  piece all of this together and arrange it in an original way. in the words of mr. john lennon:

There's nothing you can do that can't be done.
Nothing you can sing that can't be sung.
Nothing you can say, but you can learn
How to play the game
It's easy.

JUST BE YOU, BE NAKED! in general, if you are trying to be someone you're not, you will be shackled for life and hate the world.