Some Thoughts on Writing Songs
I only really know how to write about one thing. There’s only one thing I really know how to do that’s a weird thing that not a lot of people know how to do.
I write about a song or a song-and-a-half each week. I’ve been at this routine for about four years. Some of these songs make it onto my albums, some make it into my live show. Most don’t make it past the grey pocket-size four-track machine that houses all the songs I get.
For me, writing, editing, and working at songs is something less regimented than a job but more regular than a habit. It’s like eating a meal every five hours – it just happens. And when it happens, when I feel like I need it, it’s something I have to attend to.
I think this song-work is analogous to what going running or working out means to many people. I can grow grumpy, restless, confused, and even depressed if I don’t put in my time playing piano, strumming my guitar, combing through notes, and organizing ideas.
My entire life is set up to accommodate this daily, this weekly need to produce new songs. The songs flow with steadiness (though rarely complete in one go) and I harness the incoming waves of music with excitement and, sometimes, a little bit of fear.
At times I feel afraid of working on new songs, because the feelings that bring the songs in can be intense. For me, these feelings are usually related to the feeling of flowing music, and how exhilarating and a little scary it feels to hear it inside my head and then find it on the piano and in my voice. It can be a very powerful current.
The band is now in the studio recording our new album. All of the songs we need are written, and we will have to make some choices among them. I still write all the time because I can’t stop and I don’t want to stop and I won’t stop.