Why Sometimes You Need To Give Up What Is Most Precious To You.
You’re sitting in traffic, you’re taking a shower, you’re daydreaming at work, and it comes to you. THE IDEA. And you literally cannot wait to get home and start writing. If you’ve ever sat down to write a song, you know it’s not easy. Finding the right balance between all of the elements involved is quite an art form.
But you have that magic idea and you know that it’s going to be awesome. You’ve come up with a sweet guitar riff and you’ve been air guitar-ing it all day; you’ve created the catchiest hook and you’ve been singing it non-stop; or you’ve developed the perfect melody and you just know that you’re on the edge of a hit song. You are inspired. You are confident. You are ready. You are. You start working and you’re coming up with more and more parts. Now you have A and B and C. But then it happens…you hit the wall. You’re stuck. You’ve got great material individually.
That original idea, that original inspiration is now stopping you, it doesn’t fit. So you struggle. You tell yourself it has to fit; it was the basis of this whole song! You wrestle with it for days, weeks, even months, always coming back to it, but never finding the solution. You have become emotionally attached to this part of your song and it’s precious to you. But you know what, it’s not only okay, it’s necessary, to give up what’s most precious to you sometimes. If you’re really listening, the music will tell you what belongs and what doesn’t. And more often than not, that original idea is what needs to go. Sure, it got you going, gave the song life, and maybe it can be incorporated into another piece, but for this particular song, it has to go.
I was talking to one of my friends who is an artist, and he was telling me how this applies to his craft, as well. He would start a piece and then realize it was going in a completely new direction and he had to scrap his original idea. It doesn’t mean that the original idea wasn’t great; it just means it wasn’t great for right now. But it did help create something beautiful.
Maybe you get this awesome idea to write a song about all the injustice in the world. It’s on your mind and you want to get the words down to match the feeling. But as you start writing, the song turns into more about love and relationships. And trying to incorporate injustice into the lyrics is what is making you stuck. So stop. It might be precious to you in that moment, you might feel attached, but letting go and serving the song is always the answer.
Maybe it’s an arrangement. You think it’s revolutionary, it’s going to be a massive hit, but the pieces just don’t fit. Songs are like puzzles, and you know that even the slightest difference in a piece causes the puzzle to be incomplete, so learn to adapt and let go, find the pieces that fit.
Serve the song.
A great guitarist knows that even if he has an awesome lick he wants to play; he has to play a The music will tell you what it wants. Always. Never forget that. Don’t be afraid to scrap what you started with and let it evolve into something so much more. And those scraps can be saved into a file to revisit at a later time. I have a file just like this on my computer. Be grateful for those ideas. Every idea is important and serves a purpose. But don’t let attachment ruin your process. It’s just one piece. You’ll write many more. To your success!
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