Songwriter Habit #5 – Stepping Away
Songwriting isn’t just about writing songs. It’s about how we find inspiration and ensure that we can write not only consistently, but also regardless of whether inspiration jumps out at us or not. Here, we’ll discuss a part of that process: Stepping away.
This article is a summarised transcript of the third point in our video “7 Habits of Highly Effective Songwriters’’. Click here to watch the video for more details, explanations and examples.
Why Does Stepping Away Matter?
It’s important to note that the creative process is not just all about being hunched over your desk or laptop and pounding away at a line that you can’t solve. While this is important, it‘s only half of the process of songwriting.
When we step away, we allow ourselves to enter a different headspace. By taking a break, we can achieve breakthroughs and gain new perspectives that we may have never thought of before
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Examples of Artists Who Find Stepping Away Important
In an interview on the Sodajerker podcast, he says “There’s something about the binary rhythm of walking around – left, right, left, right – that opens up the creative channel. If I get stuck with a problem, I’ll go out and walk it off.”
- Paul Simon:
Songwriter Paul Simon is also a fan of stepping away when he’s stuck. He has said “I think it’s very calming, it’s like a Zen exercise really. The act of throwing a ball and catching a ball is so natural and calming that your mind kind of wanders. And that’s really what you want to happen. You want your mind to wander, to pick up words and phrases and fool around with them and drop them.”
- Tom Waits:
This prolific songwriter has also talked about how he will deliberately go for long drives as part of the creative process. He feels that by putting his brain in a completely different state of mind, it helps to create new connections between ideas that he wouldn’t have come up with sitting at a desk.
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart:
Even classical musician Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart has been quoting saying “When I am, as it were, completely myself, entirely alone and of good cheer – say, traveling in a carriage or walking after a good meal or during during the night when I cannot sleep – it is on such occasions that my ideas flow best and most abundantly.”
Conclusion: Songwriter Habit #5 – Stepping Away
Stepping away is a habit that is just as important for songwriters to practice, as it is for them to practice writing songs. By stepping away, you allow yourself to create connections you never would have thought existed. Thus, helping you to write songs more consistently and efficiently.
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