Make the most of the Muse

Don’t sweat the dry spells. We can’t be 100% creative all the time. I can go for weeks without a single new song idea and then I’ll get three in one day. Does that happen to you? Here’s what I do to capitalize on the phenomenon.

First of all, I make sure to capture every idea, no matter how lame it may seem. If I don’t capture it immediately, it’s likely to disappear back into the ether as fast as it came. This means carrying a notebook and pen everywhere, or better yet, carrying a mini recorder.

I capture the ideas that seem to pop into my head at random moments, when I’m not thinking about songwriting. It may be something I see on a billboard, read in a book or hear in a song. It’s often words out of my own mouth or a friend’s. This applies to lyrical as well as musical ideas.

Next I attempt to immediately develop it into more than just a raw idea. Perhaps I can use it as a song title or expand it into a story or concept. The goal is to make the most of whatever creative impulse I had while it’s still around: use the muse, before she moves on … strike while the iron is hot.

Unfortunately, great ideas rarely come at a convenient time. So develop them if you can, or save them for a later session. At the very least these gems will be there next time you’re stuck in a dry spell.

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