Self Love, Songwriting, Writing

Writing is a gift

A while ago, I began writing the word “gift” on the page on which I’m songs. (Or, when forget, midway through). It’s a small reminder. The gift could be for me, or for someone else. I aspire to offer some small joy, insight or surprise in what gets written. I want it to be something a person will find useful and fun. 

Socks are useful, but aren’t fun. Revenge can be fun, (or exhilarating at least), but it’s not useful. A good gift offers some amount of joy. A great gift offers a quality of inevitability and surprise, something wanted but unimagined. 

That’s hard to find of course, but it’s worth seeking out. And aiming for that target I’m likely to stay away gifting socks, revenge, or self-serving cleverness. Writing “gift” aims me toward what I can offer and generosity.

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Imperfection, Practice, Writing

Letting the Dough Rise

A friend was writing about sourdough bread and creativity.  How setting out the dough to rise reminded them of setting a project aside for a for a bit to let it develop, to let the subconscious work its creative magic. This sparked a few things for me. 

One is that the yeast and sugar will do its thing with the flour in the dough without any intervention on my part. I can trust the process to work. The same is true of creativity. Once I start the process of writing, (assuming I see the process through), I’ll get my loaf of bread.  

Also, it’s no help to the process if I intervene, trying to raise the dough faster. Here I’m thinking about how my ego will try to engineer great writing with thoughts and strategy. Thoughts and strategy aren’t writing. (Sitting down and writing is writing). The process is consistent.  Write a draft, quickly. Then walk away for a while. When I sit down again for draft two, improvements are obvious.  

But finally, and most important, when I decide the dough is no good and throw it out before I’m done, I don’t get any bread.  

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Boundaries, Inherent Self-Worth, Self Love, Songwriting, Writing

Self-Love, in the Third Person

Recentlly I heard Mark Brackett on Brené Brown’s podcast. He touched an an interesting idea. He said a study was done that showed people are kinder in how they speak to themselves when they speak in the third person.   

As someone who aspires to beat myself less that’s exciting to me. But speaking in the third person has a bad rap. It’s often portrayed as foolish and grandiose. What if it could be merely loving? 

Daniel Coyle in his “Little Book of Talent” talks about looking for good models of the skill we want to develop in ourselves, and then deeply watching and studying how they do it. Who could I look at deeply as a model of self-love? 

Elizabeth Gilbert.  She was on “The Tim Ferriss Show” recently. She said; “part of my sense of stewardship and friendship over myself is that I try to do really nice things for Liz and I try to do really nice things for future Liz.”  

There it is. She’s offers herself friendship and stewardship and it’s in the third person. She said; “I try to do really nice things for Liz and for Future Liz.” 

Here’s a little bit more, in which she’s talking about for her books.

“I’ll find some really great detail and I’ll write it on a card and I’ll be like, oh, my God, future Liz is going to be so psyched when she finds this card three years from now because she’s going to be writing the scene and she’s going to be stuck and she’s going to reach in and she’s going to pull out this detail and she’s going to be like, ‘Ah, yes.’” 

“And then what happens is that while I’m writing, I’ll reach in and I’ll find some amazing card with a great piece of dialogue on it or a great detail that really helps with the scene and I’ll be like, thanks, past Liz, you’re the best. And it’s this little salute across time where past Liz is like, I got you babe and future Liz is like, thank you for looking out for me, you’re the best.”

(There’s lots of great tidbits throughout the Tim Ferriss’s interview of Liz.  The quotes above start a bit after minute fifty https://tim.blog/2020/05/08/elizabeth-gilbert/ ).

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Songwriting, The Muse, Writing

Hubbub in the Living World

Silence isn’t really a part of the living world. On a “quiet” morning when I walk in the woods there’s quite the hubbub going. Finches, doves, frogs, sparrows, muskrats, squirrels. They all furrow and murmur. That’s before accounting what other humans, canines and I add to the ruckus.  

If a person hears nothing it’s either because they happen to be a predator afoot in the world and all god’s creatures have tensed to escape the notice of hungry eyes and ears that. Or, it’s because that person has fortified themselves in some a manmade thing, (edifice or transport), that shutters out the sounds of the living world. That old cliché of where someone says; “It’s silent, too silent,” reflects a truth; out in nature silence is evidence of a world on edge.  

I suspect the same holds true in our big, busy simian brains. Silence, the cessation of thoughts, isn’t an achievable constant in the wilds of our minds. We might scan our minds with our predator’s eyes and scare the fauna of our mind into petrification for a moment or two.  But soon enough they’re back to the business at hand.   

As a writer this is good news. All you have to do to write is be attentive and listen. Give your mind a moment and it will babble like a brook or tweet like a bird.  

Go ahead and join the rest of nature. Make some noise.   

Every Saturday I post a prompt in “The Fearless Songwriter” group on Facebook. There’s a great little community of songwriters growing over there. Join in. (The best way to keep track of all I do is to sign up for my mailing list).

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Fearless Challenge, Practice, Shame, Songwriting, The Muse, Writing

Don’t Much Know What This is Going to Look Like

“Don’t much know what this is going to look like,” is a perfectly acceptable place to start from.

It may be the only place to start from.

Now, take a step.

The next one will follow.

There’s always fog on the path.

Learn to move with, and in, uncertainty.      

It isn’t easy.

It is a skill which can be learned.

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