How one songwriter painfully describes the process of songwriting…artfully.
The process of songwriting begins with the recognition of a single feeling, a feeling that will appear and vanish almost in the same moment. After which the songwriter is left with nothing more than the faintest impression of the inspiration that came and went. For most people, those brief moments are already lost, forgotten, and adulterated by other agencies. They will not be missed.
But The Songwriter thinks differently than you or I. They will position themselves to retrieve the subject matter not just by connection, but with an unrelenting opposition to being severed, all while choosing to know, without question, that this one feeling contains an infinite well of experience, perspective, bliss, pain, and reflection. If they were able to capture just one drop of material, as this orb of eternal lifespan misdirects back towards them, then that would be more than enough to satisfy their selfish curiosity, and set it free once more.
So having sharpened your ability to perceive light and hope and strength where others can not, you now have your new world in view. You can not move, though time is of the essence. This is great progress, but the process has just begun…Now comes the challenge.
The Songwriter will spend the rest of their time in pursuit of the fleeting expanse. Carving through a maze of walls and subconscious halls, opening and closing resistant doors, getting lost and reinventing their way back to the imagined path. They are getting closer with each failure and near surrender.
Never distrusting their preliminary insight. Never allowing themselves to be influenced by who came before, or what comes after.
Nothing, no one. This is all for them, but it will always be yours.
The songwriting process is not one that is measured in success, it is simply a brutal, hardfight exercise, requiring a maximal effort, and sapping of all stores, in an attempt to sharpen focus for just long enough, while a ghost light is within reach, for you to pressurize a single touch into hundreds of pictures made up of words constrained by the rules of human language. Painting only with colors, that which has no color, and is indescribable by definitions alone. Then smiling back at your abstract canvas of imperfect translations, with gratitude and admiration, and oddly, also with an sudden detachment from that world. Nostalgia…But as the gap becomes more apparent, your eyes will gently zoom out, in parallel with the realization.
It is over now, it is a relief, you are no longer confused. You remember who you are, and where you are, and life will simply feel normal again.
Tired / Inspired
Shortly after the window of creativity has surely closed, The Songwriter will stand by the exit, turn off the studio lights, shut the door behind them, and head home for the night knowing that this project is complete. It was worth the effort, no matter the result.
He/She will now venture outside for what feels like the first time in an eternity of isolation. Then, on their way home they will be driving, perhaps catching a bit of a second wind while thinking to themselves, and they will recognize a single feeling, a feeling that will appear and vanish almost in the same moment. After which The Songwriter is left with nothing more than the faintest impression of the inspiration that came and went. This flash of spiritual guidance will leave them feeling slightly uncomfortable, and they will go to sleep that night, and dream of fighting the disconnection.
Finally, they will wake up the next morning just in time to begin writing a new song, which will soon be born, forgotten, and found by someone that wasn’t even looking, though now they can listen, and see.
The Songwriter |
Written by Paul Circharo
Thank you for reading!! I hope this personal accounting of the songwriting process inspires some of you out there. This was obviously written from my perspective, which is primarily as that of a writer/lyricist. My process for writing the music itself would translate a bit differently.
I would be interested to read some other artist’s experiences, going through their own songwriting process’, and what that is like. Doing something like this almost seems obvious to do, but I don’t think many artists really go this deep into their thought process, in an attempt to help others understand exactly what it is like in their shoes. I wrote this to help others, especially non-creatives, understand why I write music, and to give them an idea of what might go through my mind during that process. We all have those people in our lives who don’t fully get “it” right? So that was the initial idea here. Shed some light.