Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Start At The Beginning

I’ve got my morning coffee and my writing stuff and I’m sitting down to do it again. What’s it gonna be? A song? A musical? A concept CD for a garage band? A lifetime in music? Reminds me of the old joke: A man walks up to a musician and asks, “You been in music all your life?” To which, the musician replies, “Not yet.”

Okay, so you’ve got your Hemingway sweater, your book on chord progressions, and your rhyming dictionary. You’ve also got that mic that wasn’t really in your budget, but you went ahead and bought it anyway and now it’s staring you in the face saying, “Come on, Genius, sing something brilliant.” Now, the fear sets in. What if I don’t get an idea today? What if I do get an idea today? How will I know if it’s any good? How long do I take following an idea that might not be going anywhere?

There’s only one answer to those questions. My mother (who had 23 romance novels published) used to say, “Seat of the writer in the seat of the chair.” What she meant was: See it as a lifetime. It’s your job. Do it eight hours a day, at least!

Even Shakespeare had a play that wasn’t as good as the others; even McCartney has a clunker or two in his volumes of genius. If you only write one song in your life, I hope it brings you millions or gets you laid. For the rest of us: Your first song won’t be your last, and your last song won’t be as good as the next one you’re going to write. We don’t write because we want to, we write because we have to. Every time you finish a song, good, bad, right, or wrong, you’ll want someone to hear it…“Hey, listen to this!” So, throw away those doubts and fears and get writing!

Coming next week: Edits and Re-Writes. How to fix that song gone wrong!

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