Songwriting Inadequacies

After a great four-hour encouraging conversation with my buddy Andrew, I’ve been contemplating the “how’s” of what we do. As a musician, one of my greatest foci (focuses?) is songwriting. But how does it work? I certainly don’t get it.
Sometimes, like in the month of November, I wrote song after song with little effort. Now I’m trudging through month to month, one here, one there. I hear about bands like Switchfoot who, as Tim Foreman said, wrote about 160 songs for their latest album. I’ve written about 65 (that I consider worthy to be called songs) in my whole career. So let me just say, it’s a little intimidating.
However, there is something to the ability of being dedicated to your craft. When I wasn’t working, I’d just reflect on life and sit at the piano for most of the days…it makes sense that I’d be writing more. But musicians have to pay their bills too! It’s this weird conflict I find myself dealing with daily. In some ways, I wish it could be different.
And I also feel I’m incapable of writing happy songs. It’s not that I’m a depressed person…in fact, I’m pretty happy these days! But I think most of it is just that I feel very deeply, and inspiration (for me) comes through struggle. I like minor chords too…that might be a problem 😉 I’d just like to write something happy one of these days…but not sing-songy. I have a couple of those and it’s enough G-D-C action for a while.
I also think…wow, I’m going to get pretty honest here…if something isn’t complicated and different it won’t get recognized. As a woman in a very male dominated world of music (especially the technical/production side) I feel a need to be better and impress, to stand out. I don’t want to look less capable because I use a capo – not saying that anyone who does, is – so I refrain unless I have to. I want to be more knowledgeable because I already feel I know SO little about this business. I think a lot of this has to do with how I was raised…and a lot of it sounds like I have some pride I need to deal with. Ouch.
On the flip side, the incredible reception of Wallflower blows me away because it’s such a simple song musically, but the words seem to captivate the hearts of listeners in a way I never really expected…so that’s pretty cool.
I have so much to learn, and I might just have to keep admitting that to myself; not live in this high, overcompensating mentality that says I’m not good enough. I think I’m the one who needs to give myself a break…because the way I think others view my work is rarely how they actually do. The songs are good and can be great…so I need to start believing that.
It’s quality, not quantity, right?
Boy do I hope so.

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