The first phrase. The first chord. The first beat. They can all be very scary. And sometimes, the first step can be the only step because most of us are very critical of our own work. That's okay but it really isn't helpful at all if we are to write something or create something for ourselves or for other artists.
We need to write for the trash can.
Simply put, we need to write like it's nothing. This is to help us eliminate that critical mindset that we have as artists. Here are 6 ideas on how we can eliminate having a critical mindset.
Whether it's on a napkin or a piece of paper, when an idea comes to mind, don't ignore it. Keep on scribbling. You'll never know if that idea could be the start of something big. I remember scribbling the lyrics to INTRoVOYS' "Calling All Nations" on a table napkin. I didn't know what to make of it at that time but I held on to the line "Calling all nations... hear my plea for peace" only because there was a coup de etat happening in Manila at the time.
And when I got home, I decided to write some lyrics to support the line I scribbled earlier on. Thank God I did because I was able to write the rest of the lyrics to "Calling All Nations", which became a Top 10 hit on RX93.1 FM.
Write and Write and Write
Carry a notebook and keep it on hand. When inspiration comes, make sure that your notebook is within reach so that you can write what comes to mind when it comes. Again, don't criticize your work. Just write and keep on writing. Edit it later. Edit it never. Let it marinade. I hope you're getting what I'm trying to say. Write and keep on writing. You'll be surprised a week, a month or even years later that you were able to write whatever it was you wrote. Okay, enough of that.
It's Okay If It Doesn't Rhyme
Slime rhymes with Dime. Carrots rhyme with carats. Dog doesn't rhyme with cat but that's okay if the message is clear. Sometimes, we get caught up in the rhyme that we fail to focus on the message of the song. NEWS FLASH... it doesn't have to rhyme all the time. And sometimes, when we do it on purpose, phrases that do not rhyme delivers more appeal. "Kamukha mo is Paraluman. Nung tayo ay bata pa". You know what I'm saying.
The Hook Will Present Itself
If you feel that the song isn't taking off, that's fine. Just keep at it. You'll never know because the more you keep at it, you'd be surprise that the hook will come out. Yes, it will present itself. If you set it aside, you're ignoring the possibility of the song growing by itself. Be patient. Allow it to take a life on its own. Believe me. You'd be surprise.
Jj Buencamino and I experienced this while writing the song, "However Whichway". We just let the song come alive on its own. We didn't think it was gonna be a hit. And almost 3 decades later, it's still a hit!
Inspiration From Left Field
Keep you heart open. Inspiration does come from left field from time to time. What can seem mundane to you or to people around you can inspire the next person. As a creator, your role is also to inspire others with your work. And you'd be surprise how you can be inspired even more by their reaction to your work. So don't be shy in letting your close friends or random strangers hear your first draft. Listen to their feedback. It should help you with your first rewrite.
One Man's Trash Is Another Man's Treasure
Collaborate with other artists. What may be "meh" to them may be "wow" to you... and vice versa. Sometimes, collaborations can be a good thing. Anybody ever hear of songs from "Lennon McCartney"? When I'm in a rut and I feel that song I'm working on is headed for the trash can, I phone a friend to help me see what I can't see about the song I'm creating. Or sometimes, he or shel will tell me to go ahead and throw it away because it really is trash. LOL. But do collaborate. You'd be amazed at some of the wonderful outcomes of collaborations.
In the end, we can all benefit from the process of creating art as we know it. If you're a songwriter, keep on writing. And if you're a potter, keep working on those clay sculptures. In the end, others will see the beauty in what we do. And it can be an amazing thing. And if no one takes notice, remember, we created it for the trash can.