Does anyone here write to a formula or are you all…like me…literally stabbing in the dark with every one?

Do you think…hhhmmm I’ll have a minor fall here… or just try to see what feels right?

Do you write out the basic structure/story then refine it? I don’t.

Seems like the lottery to me. Write write write and then maybe…just maybe a gem will appear.
The reason I ask is because, maaaaan I’m writing some crap lately!! (when I get the time).

Quote: (spreadercraig @ Jan. 17 2009, 2:20 PM)

The reason I ask is because, maaaaan I'm writing some crap lately!! (when I get the time).

:laugh: Sorry don't mean to laugh but I like your honesty!
Sounds like your forcing it.
I would say if you ARE forcing it then try more takes. Or try a different approach.

my ratio of stuff I like to stuff I write is about 15 to 1 overall. Now I know going in more if it’s anything good so I can a lot before they even get to pencil and paper.

Poppa are you saying out of every 15 tunes you write you only like 1?

Levi…yup I’m trying to force it quite a lot. The way I see it is if anyone ever asks me for a specific tune ie. a publisher ( fiiingers croossseeedd ) then I can easily come up with the goods.

I just wondered about other folks’ writing techniques too.

That’s what I’m saying - over all the years I’ve been writing I’d say max one out of 15 or so. I’ve written a lot of crap to just be writing - it helps whether we like what we do or not - keeping sharp tools is essential.
Every song should be a lesson learned - either of the craft or of yourself or the human condition.

Just my experience.

The closest thing to a “formula” I have is to experiment with different chord progressions or melodies, maybe humming a tune that fits with it, and hoping inspiration strikes.

Something else that crossed my mind a while back may be more helpful. It occurred to me that I used to read a lot more books than I do now. I also wrote a lot more then too, and I’m not so sure that’s a coincidence. About all I read now are newspapers, magazines, and whatever I happen to find interesting on the internet. Fiction or non-fiction, I don’t think it matters. You get inspired to play music listening to great musicians, so it only makes sense that you get inspired to write reading great authors. Then again, maybe that was just one of those “there you go again, thinkin!” moments.

I’m like Craig, stabbing in the dark every time. Poppa speaks the truth, though. You need to keep your tools sharp.

Me, I’m always waiting for some divine (hmm, well…) idea to just fall into my head. I like the ‘magic’ of it, which is why I’ve always kept music as a hobby as opposed to a career. I don’t want to over analyze song ideas, I just want to grab that muse & take off with her, whenever she shows up, and see where we end up.

The ‘fall into my head’ approach is rather unprodctive in my case, sort of an on-off switch. When life keeps me too busy I’m not able to be very creative. When I’m allowed to slow down I’m too damn knackered to create anything. Most times. The last month has been different for some reason. Dunno yet if my recent ideas are any good, but they’re good enough to make me curiuos. That’s a good thing in my book and enough to make me write & record again, damn the results :)

Yep - the old Nashville crowd (Kristofferson, Roger Miller, Willie) called that the “blue flame” - when it just hits you. My bud Mickey Newberry thought it was all driven by sleep deprivation, gave him a reason for speed. Whatever works for you is a good way to sum it up. Some have it as a skill - some as a talent. As unique as each of us in some repects.
I could go on for days about writing…

I just play what’s in my head. That may explain the lack of songs and bunch of nearly useless sound doodles.

Craig if you’re forcing to write I suggest a holiday! Just take a break.

I do, trouble is my breaks last for years. :laugh:


That may explain the lack of songs and bunch of nearly useless sound doodles.

Heh. That explains me to a "T". Piles and piles of half-baked riffs, snippets and ideas just sitting on the hard drive. *sigh*


Some tips and ideas I’ve picked up along the way:

* It’s not unusual to have only (say) 1 in 99 songs that you write ever get out there.
* Read, read, read. Expand your vocabulary, learn to say things in different ways.
* Listen, listen, listen. To different musical styles (especially away from your favourite genre).
* Study: What makes that melody good? What chords are those? Why do they work?
* Adopt: Could I take a few ideas from that great melody?
* Write away from your instrument. G/C/D sounds terribly boring when you’ve played them a million times and stifles creativity. If you can develop the idea before picking up the guitar it stands a better chance.
* Be original. “Bridge of raging streams” is not.
*Be focussed. Have a single idea for the song and work it. Don’t wander around between themes

That’s all I can think of for now. HTH

I pretty much like eveyone I write Craig.
But find things about them later that I know I could have improved on.
I think songs can change with time to, they don’t always have to be the same arrangement.
I really don’t ever pass on a song.
I start it, finish it, and upload it.
I never stop in the process, I find something cool in all of them.

Have you ever heard or seen Bing Crosby sing Ching? I think you look like him.
If you dressed like Robert Johnson you would look exactly like Bing Crosby :laugh:
He had a heck of a voice too! Smooth singing style like yours.

I’m really critical early on, so if I think of a verse tune I hum it into my phone and record it there.

An hour or so later I’ll listen and if it doesn’t sound as good I’ll forget it. My phone is full of these, but I only ever elaborate on the ones I think are ace.

Bing Crosby?? Never heard that comparison before… :laugh:

Ah but Craig, Poppa’s right about record em all, sometimes what we ourselves think is crap could turn out to be the hit #1 to the masses.

Ching Crosby, has a sweet arrogance to it! You might hang on to that for a backup pin name. :agree:

I do vocals like you Craig, record ideas into my phone, or some device. But the harmonies that you come up with are amazing! PW and Zay are right. That’s what the stash and review process is all about I guess. Well, back to the dungeon.


I've written a lot of crap to just be writing - it helps whether we like what we do or not - keeping sharp tools is essential.
Every song should be a lesson learned - either of the craft or of yourself or the human condition.

Yes - a songwriter not writing is like an actor not acting - ua ain't unless you are doing it. I'm only a songwriter when I'm writing. Rest of the time I'm someone who wishes he were writing.