don’t fall in love with your songs too soon

pedestal with heart

A great songwriting teacher once said ‘don’t fall in love with your songs too soon.’ In the early stages of writing a song, stay open – open to fixing a line, improving a melody or re-engineering a rhyme.

It’s not baked yet, so give yourself the freedom to play with it, experiment, improvise. Give it time to percolate. Sleep on it. Find the weakest part of the song and improve just that bit.

Eventually, the song will be completed and that’s the perfect time to fall in love with it. If we fall in love too early, it becomes precious and we miss out on the better song we could have written.

We fall in love with our creations, true. And our songs are our babies. Just don’t be too quick to put them up on a pedestal.

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5 Responses to “don’t fall in love with your songs too soon”

  1. Jon McAuliffe Says:

    That is excellent advise. Yes, it IS easy to get thrown up into the clouds when you’ve written something really good, but have not examined it more carefully, less emotionally. Thank you for the heads up!

  2. Tom Farr Says:

    This is so true. It’s always exciting to see my ideas evolve into something better, but I’ve definitely had times that I’ve avoided letting something grow because I thought it was perfect how it was. Our first creations tend to be the rough draft on which we build better creations. Great advice.

  3. Judson Says:

    Good information and sound advice. I find myself waiting sometimes for an extended period before the muse taps me on the shoulder. Once it happens, I’m likely to finish a song in an hour or so. Sometimes I improve it gradually, other times, my first take is my best and I end up “gilding the lily” as they say. — Judson at http://judson2history.wordpress.com/

  4. DW Says:

    It’s all too easy to fall in love with a great melody or smooth riff. But a real song is so much more. The songs I’ve written and are the most proud of are the ones where I really challenged myself to go above and beyond the first 30 seconds. I can totally agree with this advice.

  5. matthewcline Says:

    I agree that we shouldn’t become too infatuated with our work so early, because you may overlook the revision stage in the writing process, which can prove invaluable if utilized effectively. There are many rules of thumb, or time-tested conventions when writing songs, such as trying to keep it as short and as to-the-point as possible, and starting with the end in mind. Sometimes I will create multiple drafts of the same piece of work and see which I like the best before publicizing it (be it in the comment section of a blog website or in a criterion-assessment at school). 

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