I wrote Oh April (You Made A Fool Outta Me) yesterday. I was completely fried from working on Dig Down Deep To Normal (my kids FAWM album) but the First Tuesday Songwriting Group meeting was that evening and you have to have written a song to be allowed in. And as I host the group it would be a little embarrassing to get banned from your own meeting! The end result was a simple bluesy song with a stream of consciousness wordplay type lyrics, written on the bus to school – it was April the first (Oh April, you made a fool outta me), we were on the cusp of springtime (heading for a fall before summer was through), someone was swearing (used your dirty mouth to get clean away), someone else was talking about buying a smart phone (on your smart phone waiting for a dumb reply) and so on.
It’s really not that good.
So why bother finishing what you know is a bad song?
- It makes you a better writer. The only way to get good at writing songs is to write songs.
- It cures writers block. Because there is no such thing as writers block. There is only a paralysing fear of writing a bad song. The best way to get over that is to write bad songs and say “So What!?”
- It feels good. There is a joy in creation. I had written some words on a page. But when I started singing them over a simple Am to C major vamp the song came alive. It felt like making a bird out of clay and then breathing on it and watching it come alive in my hands. Something that didn’t exist on Monday night, even as a thought in my head, was a tangible thing by Tuesday night.
- It tells you who you are as an artist. Writing a lot, whatever the quality, holds up a mirror. It shows up your default chord progressions, rhyme schemes, pet topics, points of view. This is useful whether you’re into self discovery or trying to discern the ruts you need to break out of.
- It provides spare parts. Even if a song doesn’t work out it may provide you with a decent line, riff, or chord progression, that you can re-use in the future.
Here’s a bonus reason.
You might be wrong. It might be a good song after all.