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Kelisms

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#6 - Slumps. Cherish Them!


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Another off-beat choice for a blog entry, but it was the only subject to receive a vote.

Slumps. What is a slump? I’m not going to define it according to a dictionary, but rather by what I’m talking about. I describe a slump as a period in my Creative Cycle where little or substandard quality work is being produced.

No matter what they call them, I’m sure every songwriter, poet, scriptwriter, novelist, composer or sportsman goes through these periods. Some will succumb to the alluring temptation of distraction. Others will continue through the cycle into the better times ahead. They say cream always rises to the top and nowhere is this more evident than when out of nowhere an artist is back in the Top 10, a racer finishes on the top of the podium or a team who have struggled all year beat the competition leader, in whatever sport you follow.

Slumps are a natural part of the cycle, and the best part is, even while struggling through them we are practising our craft, making it and ourselves stronger, and more resilient for when the cycle takes its inevitable downturn, sometime in the future.

But you didn’t start reading to be told, “Chin up there lad/lass, it’ll come good again in time!â€

No, you are reading because you want some practical advice. So here it is:

Write.

“What?†you say. “That’s it?â€

Yep, that’s all there is to it. We are song writers, so like a runner must run his way out of a slump, a basketball team must run, dribble, shoot their way out of a slump we must write our way out of a slump. But don’t despair, there is more we can do than write substandard lyrics or melodies.

Write a blog entry! (No, I don’t feel like I’m in a slump!)

Write a critique or several – and remember to read all the other critiques as well!

Write an article.

Write a list of catchy titles.

Write a shopping list and take your mind off that empty page for a while.

Write a letter to a friend. Not an email. A letter!

Write a chorus.

Write a verse.

Now write the first verse.

And a bridge.

Put down what you have just finished, go back to your list of titles and repeat the process.

DO NOT REVIEW NOW!

Put everything you write away, out of sight. Hits are re-written, but during a slump is not the time to review or re-write anything, trust me.

i.e. Write! Write!! Write!!!

Now get to work!

Cheers,

Kel

3 Comments


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Good advice. I've been on a roll for a while but then again... not everything I write is worth seeing the light of day I suppose. At least I'm feeling creative. 

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Nice post Kel. Lucky for me I don't get enough time to write or play music to ever fall into a slump. I'm usually thinking about playing for a week or so before I actually get to. So maybe that's another method that may help if the writing methods you suggested don't work. Stop writing, force yourself to write nothing and only THINK about things for a week or two. Even if the urge comes to write something down, don't do it. Get your mind itching to want to do it but don't let it. After you've suffered for a week, let 'er rip!! It's the Tough Love method.

 

I've also found that different times of the day can result in different results when playing/recording. I've waited all day before for 7 p.m. to get here so I could start recording or playing and then when it came "poof", I just didn't have it going on. Suckville. Which would fall into your "substandard quality of work" category. 

 

Thanks again for the post Kel. I enjoyed it.

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Guest The Quiet Man

Posted

What I have found after more years than I can remember, is quite simple for me,   I have an adjoining orchard in an acre of land I have built a Cabin on it I use this cabin for recording  most of the year,  during July and August I take up residence in it with my wife.because we let the moulin out to good paying holiday makers.

 

Working away from our residence I can sing my songs as I write them and re write  where needed, but I always work on several songs at one time or say at one session,whenever I feel that brick wall coming up I Lock up and go and do and do one of my many Building and renovation jobs On Our Moulin ,

I  don't deliberately think about any particular song whilst away from the recording and my subconscious does it for me.

 

My method is to make a work demo  with just guitar and vocals,

using up to ten tracks , I flit from one track to the next after each musical phrase evolves,  this way I can re do a phrase or even start again.

 

I also place a lot of emphasis on the keys I work in, sometimes a song is better  being lifted up a couple of tones.

 

Another thing I's fussy with is the Drum Tempo a simple drum box that has quite a few Rhythms built in.

 

This way as each song evolves The better songs stand out and the worse are usually deleted.

Eventually I have a meeting with my  youngest son a great Guitarist and Vocalist. and I give him the choice of say two or three , he will then make me up a backing tape.          When it's ready I work on the vocals, most times the arrangements give me, ideas where I can hone in certain phrases and nearly always update the lyrics.  eventually I get a great recording, and then pitch it.

 

I feel sorry for people who write new songs but have not got a reasonable voice or the facilities to record their own stuff ,  in increases the odds of never finding a Pro outlet for their songs, I often study whoever I'm pitching to, buy buying or down loading their hits  recognising the range they have and their favourite keys.

 

If you don't do your research, your chances of placing songs are almost nil.   in my book    . That's just my opinion others will argue with that but it's a fact of life in the recording business when you are aiming your songs at top acts.

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