Songwriting

But Fearless?   

I call the challenge I periodically run the Fearless Songwriting Challenge. I named it the Fearless Challenge because calling it the “Write Seven Songs in Seven Days Challenge” lacked a certain verve.  

But Fearless?   

People who hear about the challenge say; “I’m not Fearless.”  And, “who wants to be fearless anyway?” It’s true!  Fearlessness is pretty often a synonym for foolishness. Fear is there for good reason. Fear is an important marker in our lives. But also fear gets in our way.

There’s a lot out there about how to beat fear. The nub of it is if we avoid a fear, it sucks, and the fear increases.  If we face a fear head on head on, it sucks, but the fear decreases. There are different ways to challenge a fear, but it seems exposure to a fear is compulsory to beating it.  So back in the 80’s Susan Jeffers had it right; you have to “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.”

This is the idea behind the Fearless Songwriting Challenge; know writing a song can be scary, do it anyway–seven times.

Saying; “merely do it,” does lack some empathy though, (not to mention some drama).  Empathy helps to take away the edge from a fear. And so, the unsolicited advice:

Don’t confuse your self worth with your accomplishments or your lack thereof.

Tell yourself; “If I write I am good, and if I don’t write I am good.”

Tell yourself; “If I write well I am good, and if I don’t write well, I am good!”

Give yourself that space.

If this sounds like airy-fairy magical bullshit, you’re probably right. Still, you might try it on for size, walk into the arena of your writing and see what happens.  

Remember, no matter what does happens, whether in your judgment or the judgment someone else, you’re good.  

 

Songwriting

List Ten Things, (and Go to Eleven).

It’s a grey rainy day.  My habit the last little bit has been to wake up, study a little Greek, play some guitar, read the news.  Pretty much do anything to amuse and distract myself before leaving for work. Not so say that none learning Greek or playing guitar are a waste of my time but what I’ve been wanting to do is enliven the Fearless Songwriter Group some.  Maybe offer thoughts on editing, songwriting, and generally getting on with it.

For instance, one way I like to get on with it is a list of then things. Here’s an example:  Ten things I could do to enliven the Fearless Challenge Group

  1. Ask members who they’re listening to these days
  2. Post some useful information about music theory
  3. Ask about what’s keeping members stuck
  4. Post some of Dr. David Burns’ work on beating procrastination
  5. Post some info on learning techniques.
  6. Talk about Fluent Forever, mnemonics, and the memory palace
  7. Create a Spotify list of artists/songs people are excited about now
  8. Talk about effective practice techniques?
  9. Ask others about how they practice
  10. Talk about how coffee makes the world better
  11. Look at CBT techniques that could be applied to writing and writing blocks

I like the list of ten things, (and I love making it go to 11). It’s useful brainstorming for me.  It’s a flexible tool and framework. I could ask myself an infinite number of open ended questions and get any number of answers. Some answers will suck. Some answers will feel scary.  But there are bound to be one or two that I can do right now, today. It works as a to do list. It works as a way to think about changes I’d like to make to a song. It works as a way to think up vacation spots. There are few times I’m unfocused, feel blocked, or need to think something through where it’s unhelpful.  

I never have to do all the things I come up with.  I find it’s rarely useful to save a list much more than a day. I just end up with an untenable pile of lists. In a moment where I feel stuck though, it’s pretty much always helpful for write out ten options (and go to eleven).