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Working On Multiple Songs, Supportive Or Destructive For The Creative Process?

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I currently work on three songs and besides that I write at least 2 lyrics a week, not because it’s a goal of mine, it just happens J


This naturally means that it will take a long time for any of my songs to be completed. I try to focus mainly on one song, but then all of a sudden I get a great idea for one of the others. It might be a thought, intro or whatever that is intended for a particular song that suddenly feels better in another. So, I shift focus.  Again.


In my world it contains both elements. Destructive because the song you currently work on might take a trip back to the drawer. Supportive because of those great ideas that can take form can develop another song.

What’s your opinion? How does it work for you? Do you find working on multiple songs in a period is supportive or destructive to the creativity?



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I have to admit that I only write potential lyrics, not songs, but I also end up having several pots on the stove.  I thought that this was just my lack of focus but I might be in the shower or at the shops and a few words come in to my head, then anything else I was working on is suspended.  However, I am very new to this so I don't really have an end in sight if that makes sense, so it feels ok to write down as much as possible.  Good to know more experienced folks are operating in a similar way - maybe its the way of the creative spirit

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I find part done ideas often stay that way, hard to get back into that thought, so they become something else.


I might try and get a chorus done, with a melody, but go back to it and forget the melody and wonder how I ever got it to sound great :lol:


So I've retrained myself. If I get a chorus or more, and a melody, I try and record roughly/quickly, so the idea's saved.


If I've got a strong idea, I'll do as much as I can, even when it's going off in multiple directions.


But I do my best to focus on the one, even if I know there's some bad parts written just as fillers. It's easier then to go back again, pick up the ideas, thoughts, meanings etc.


I like it actually when you get 1/2 of something, then lose what you had but reuse that 1/2 and find something else comes out that maybe makes me go, "where the hell did that come from" :lol:


So I guess I've also learned just to write, get it down. It's either going to be useful for another song or it's just useful in I'm continually practicing, thinking, evolving etc :yes:

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Hmm, so we do it the same way then. But don't you guys think it's frustrating that it takes SO long time until one song is done? I mean, if I aim to complete a full album...I will grow very old before it hits the market  :death:

I am unfortunately not equipped with any higher amount of patience so frustrated is my middle-name since starting with music  :crying:



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 I'll go out of my way to avoid having to arrange and record- usually by writing another song.


In other ways, but yes, know that feeling :lol:


Maria, do you feel it's important when putting together an album, to have a story throughout (from track 1 to the last track), or each song is its own entity, so you can vary styles/genres etc - just a matter of choosing the order they play in?

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Hobosage; maybe you could share some of that focus? ;)

Justin; I just write what comes to my mind but when I look thrue my lyricslist the following appears (among lot of others)

Shadow of your soul

Aincant power

Crucified by time

Looking for life

Betrayal (just wrote that ;))

In the king you must believe



I guess my future album will be quite dark and that's what keeps it together. Not a special story I think...Wait and we shall see....lol


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I find that it depends on your form of writing. When I wrote my lyrics on paper I found that working on more than one song at a time left a lot of material that would never get used. Now I tend to use the Blackberry to write lyrics which means that I can go from one song to the next without the previous getting lost in a pile of paper.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am happy working on several songs at the same time. Sometimes the way ahead with a particular song won't come to me, it at least I am not satisfied with what has come to me. If I have several ongoing songs I am perfectly comfortable switching songs, as I have learned that just because one song isn't going where I want it, a lack of satisfactory ideas tends not to be across the board.

I want to do what is right for an individual song, and it am patient in getting there. I see no fun in forcing the pace, so I only do so with commercial writes where I have had a fixed deadline to meet.

In truth I think much depends on the individual writer. Songwriting is very much a results lead activity. Don't be afraid of giving new ideas a chance, experiment and find what works for you. Times change, so what works now may not work in a year, so don't get entrenched!

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Another idea, which I draw from my day-job in computer programming, is "TMTOWTDI = There's More Than One Way To Do It.â„¢"  Affectionately known as "Tim Toady."


So – when you're putting a song together – "there's more than one way to do it."  You'll probably come up with more than one combination of phrases as you're writing things down.  So, keep them all.  You can (especially if you work with a computer as a composition-tool) rearrange things in many different ways ... and, all of those possibilities will probably sound different and sound good.  Keep them all.  Some will sound like "clams."  Keep them, too.  Basically, don't actually discard anything.


The one thing that I suggest you should not expect is ... probably what you do tend to expect.  Namely, that you'll put your hand to your instrument (or your computer) and ... a ray of light will beam down from heavens above, and choirs will sing and a solemn voice will intone:  "there it is."  :001_tt1:  Uh uh.  Don't happen that way.  There is no "one right way," no "one best way."


Creativity – at least to me (and no matter what it is that I'm trying to create) – really consists of a process of selection, much more than inspiration.  And I think that absolutely the coolest thing that can happen ... is when something that you've just done, genuinely surprises you.  You put two things together, just to hear what they sound like together, and ... "Wow."  Maybe you pick up one of those previously-discarded "clams" and suddenly you hear yummy "clam chowder."  You start fooling-around with different ways to string-together the little pieces you've come up with, and a song appears.  A good one.  It starts to sound like something that you've heard before and that you like, not something that you created.  The song "has legs" now.  It has a life of its own.  It's more than the sum of its parts.


And when you think you're "working on more than one song" ... well, perhaps you are, and perhaps you're not.  Can you "borrow" a phrase from one of those ideas and drop it into another?  Hey, try it.  Sounds great?  W00T!  Or, uhh, not so hot?  Okay, don't discard it; just put the idea aside.  You never know where one piece of something that you've come up with while thinking of one thing, might be the perfect ingredient for another, seemingly-unrelated situation.  It's all "the creative process."

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