I’ve been writing quite a bit these days. I always write, but most of the time I write because I can’t keep it in and it brings me such joy to do so. Nowadays I’m writing with a goal. My producer and I have been figuring out how to release and when to release originals. It has been almost four years since I’ve released any originals. It doesn’t seem that long, but I can hardly believe it.
This time it’s a longer process than just writing any song and releasing it. I’m not driving the ship and I can’t do whatever the hell I want and have my own schedule. This time it involves strategy and timing and which of my original songs has the most listener appeal. However, the writing process hasn’t changed since my first album or the last one. I can’t write if I’m not inspired.
A few years ago, I lived the life of a hired songwriter. I wrote for projects and was told what style to emulate and what singer to write for. It was a lot of formula and trying to make someone else happy. Trying to be authentic and write from a real place is tough when you are not the one you are writing for. I wrote a ton and they were solid songs with strong hooks and good song structure…but they weren’t inspired, so they were all kind of forgettable.
When I was touring around the country by myself, I wrote all the time. Hours of singing to myself in the car. The touring itself was miserable, but I was living a unconventional, exciting life and so ideas flowed easily. They were not necessarily joy-filled songs, but I sure had a lot to say. During those years and the years after, I’ve noticed a pattern for writing. When I’m challenging myself, going outside of my comfort zone, living an inspired life, I have things to say, things to write about. Ideas and feelings pour out of me. However, when I’m going through the motions, calculating my words, I can sit for hours without a damn thing written.
So these days, I know I need to write, and they must be great songs…the best songs I’ve ever written. I can’t do that by going through the motions. I have to take myself to places I’ve never gone. Dig deeper into my soul to find things I’ve hidden. Take chances with people and situations to create new feelings. Be authentic and fearless in my expression of them. Live an inspired life with the hope of inspiring others to do the same.