Not Quite Writer's Block
I fully believe I will need to write hundreds of songs in order to come up with my next great release. I mentioned as much at the end of my last post. I also believe that there are no “shortcuts” to this process, that I can't write ten songs and get lucky and two of them are great. I guess that's possible, but that's not really what the process represents.
It wouldn't be entirely fair to say I have writer's block. Like I mentioned in another recent post, when I set out to just write whatever comes to mind and free myself from “editor's mind”, I can produce plenty of interesting sounds and song structures. I'm not struggling to get started, or to put notes “down on paper”. I don't think I'm stuck in the 8 bar loop trap. I know how to finish songs or at least when a demo version is “done enough”.
I can play a few instruments and sing well enough, I know how to use my DAW pretty well, certainly well enough that it doesn't actively impede my progress.
I'm not married to any specific genre, though I feel more at ease creating guitar-driven rock songs than any EDM pieces. But it's not a matter of getting sick of the genre I'm writing in, or feeling like I have no new ideas in that space. The alternate is also true: I don't feel necessarily compelled to create some breakthrough new sound that no one's ever heard before.
I feel like what I'm lacking is focus. I don't have anything to focus my songwriting/music production ability. No prism to shine the light through. Sure, I'd love to write a 10-12 track album that's coherent and well laid out. My favorite thing to listen to is albums. But something like that seems so distant and difficult that it's hard to motivate myself to pursue it.
When I finish a song, I publish it on my song demos website and toot about it on Mastodon (sometimes I also tweet it). There's no real satisfaction or gratification other than just saying “yes, I made a song today”. I know of a couple of people that sometimes listen to songs I put out there, but usually they don't give me any direct feedback or encouragement.
It feels like every new song just gets thrown on the pile and forgotten as soon as it's rendered. Then maybe I decide to put out a release, like the Radio Machine EP and I go digging through this pile to try to find something salvageable.
I know I can't depend on external encouragement or engagement to drive my songwriting. I understand, at least intellectually, that the drive to write songs has to come completely from me. I need to want to write these songs, and want it badly enough that I can overcome creative and technical obstacles. I need to be excited for my own reasons.
And right now, frankly, I'm not.
What do you think, am I being too hard on myself? As always I'm Travis Briggs, of travisbriggs.com fame. If you'd like to comment on this post you can do so on Mastodon (@firstname.lastname@example.org) or Twitter (@audiodude) or send me an email at email@example.com