I must admit that I have been on a slight writing drought since I moved to Chicago. Not that I haven’t been spending time doing it, just that I haven’t been particularly enthused by any of the overall packages of lyrics I’ve produced. Sometimes that’s just how it goes. I can go weeks without writing something I wouldn’t eventually change significantly, and then I can write 3 or 4 full songs in the span of a couple days. However, I find it just as important to write through the off times as I do through the on times. Sometimes I feel like I’m emptying out my pencil of all its bad ideas so I can get to the good ones faster. Quitting when it’s not coming easily sets a precedent for yourself as a writer. You limit yourself to what writers call “divine inspiration.” When all the pieces fall together and everything makes more sense than you planned. When I’m able to discipline myself to continue writing through 15 bars of useless lyrics, it often leads me to an idea I wasn’t expecting to develop. And lots of times I will draw an aggressive “X” through the first 15 lines, use the 16th line as a starting point, and begin a completely new set of lyrics.
Another thing I do to break out of a slump is called train of thought writing. You put your pencil to the page, and you start writing, and you don’t stop until you fill up the entire page. With my microscopic writing, it’s a tall task. It seems quite simple. The real challenge is not stopping. The idea is to free your mind absolutely and completely of worrying whatsoever about any semblance of sense that you are able to continue moving your pencil when you “run out of things to say.” Maybe it sounds easy. Try it. You will stop. I am always very excited when I’m able to fill up the blank page with my mind’s garbage. And it usually goes a long way towards breaking a slump. I’m sure you can guess the quality of this style of writing is rarely top notch, but I thought it would be cool to share the most recent one I did. I’m not sure where it ranks (I’ve done this thousands of times), but it’s certainly an uninterrupted look into my mind at that exact moment in time. I’m going out on a limb sharing it with everyone. I’m a perfectionist, and this is light years from that. I know it’s long, but enjoy it if you are at all intrigued…
I fell out of the habit of loving you and I know that’s rubbing you the wrong way but if I was an old tape player you’d keep rewinding and pressing play if for no other reason than to hear what I had to say. But what I have to say is way more than you want to hear because in your heart I still feel near and close but in reality I’m close to gone and on to something new. You were one of the few that stuck me in my tracks so thank you for that. Stopping me to smell the roses as they say but it’s time for another journey. Learning as I stop as much as learning as I go to one more time in the sheets are cold and I won’t stop again for you even if I struggle with where to point my nose. Flowing as smoothly as the river of your tears. I’m upstream and lost my paddle. I only have these words to rattle off and hope that they will be enough to cushion the rough fall you’ve been taking for years. But tears can be slippery when they find their way to the floor and fears can be typically what’s in store when the next few suns disappear into the ground. But a new star will light the way tomorrow and maybe it will take a closer listen to your wishes.
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