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Beginner Songwriting Anxiety?

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 Vee
(@vee)
Active Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 8
Topic starter  

Okay, here's my problem. Let me start off by saying that I'm 15 (well practically 16, but whatever) if that affects anything. I've been writing "lyrics" since i was really young. Of course, I wasn't as serious then, and I've started getting more serious about it now that I'm older. Well I've tried several times to completely write a song but have yet to be successful. I start to write it and have these great ideas, but then they never turn out the way I want them and then I start to think that my song totally sucks and I lose interest in it and stop working on it. It always gets to the point that I start to record it on my 8-track, but I feel that it's not good so I don't feel motivated to work on it anymore. Is this normal? What should I do?! I need help!

Another problem is that I feel like the guitar parts always have to be really good and stuff (although I'm not that amazing on the guitar so they're usually pretty basic, which isn't exactly what I wan't but I don't know what to do) and I feel that the lyrics have to be really great also. But then I look at some other artists I admire and notice that their stuff isn't THAT amazing or anything (even when they ARE considered great). One of my problems is that I think too much. My friend brought this up, and I agree. I just don't know what to do. I'm getting really depressed because I feel like I'm in such a slump.


   
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(@snoogans775)
Reputable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 297
 

you're in a very simple situation, you want to be good, but you aren't yet.

It depends on your personality entirely, as to what they will be, but you need to start taking risks, play an open mic if there's one around(there almost always is)or even more simply, go to a park with your guitar and play around other people, or :x the worst, play for your parents, they'll be very very supportive, and you'll have begun a new process.

It seems like a drastic change, but it's a very small barrier to break through, and strive to be better, don't expect that you must be getting better

as far as guitar, writing is not about writing super-impressive lines, emotion can be conveyed at any speed at all, any technicality at all, and your first song shouldn't be amazing to you, it almost never is, but other people might disagree with you, you have to find out and just work up the confidence to finish that track

I don't follow my dreams, I just ask em' where they're going and catch up with them later.
-Mitch Hedburg
Did you see that!


   
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(@xlosexyoux)
Active Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 12
 

hey Vee.

i know what you mean. i'm 16 and am pretty serious when it comes to writing songs. you say that you can't keep up with writing an entire song, which is fine. you should force yourself to write a whole song in one sitting. usually i write parts here and there and when i come up with some more for the song, i add it in later. i always have my notebook or a piece of paper and pen just incase i get a sudden burst of inspiration. what i suggest you do is try taking the parts of different songs that you have written and try to combine them into one song.

snoogans775 is right also. you want to be a good writer right away, and it takes time. also, your lyrics might sound ridiculous to you, but to others they might sound amazing. take a shot at letting others read your lyrics, maybe to a song you might not have completed fully, and see what they think of what you have so far. you have to be able to take criticism from others.

just keep writing. if you have a good friend that likes to write lyrics as well, let them read them. thats what i do. my good friend and i have been composing music together for about 2 years and we always let eachother be the first to read it. it makes us both feel alot better about our writing having a friend read it first.

i hope i didn't sit here and rant too much to you but i thought it might be of some use. and if its not, sorry. lol. hope everything turns out for the best for you and your writing.

*hailey*

"i collect friends, i have about three." - ville valo

"listen, ryan's at it again. he just got stabbed in the eye with a fork and now he has to rock a pirate patch for atleast a month. its ridiculous." 'valo' *bam margera*


   
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(@vic-lewis-vl)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 10264
 

I started writing about that age, what I thought were deep meaningful lyrics turned out to be total rubbish!!!

But the odd phrase from those days gets re-cycled 30 years on, and one song from those days still survives intact......

So never throw anything away, you'll need it in years to come......in the mean time, carry on writing,........

Good luck.....

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


   
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(@nicktorres)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 5381
 

Somewhere around here someone wrote an article on lyrics and songwriting.....


   
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(@xxfreak17xx)
Eminent Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 23
 

i cant write songs or play music so lucky you all i can do is write shittie ass poems the suck ass so lucky u :oops:


   
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(@colorofthesky)
Active Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 6
 

your first song shouldn't be amazing to you, it almost never is, but other people might disagree with you

I would like to agree to that statement. It couldn't be more true. My cousin recently finished writing a song. When I heard it I was in shock because it was sooo good. I was amazed! But she thought it was awful, and I mean really really awful. Now I keep making her play it for me and she is always going on about how awful it is.
I think that happens a lot. You might want to get some feedback from other people, you don't always like what you write, right away...especially when you're a perfectionist like many great songwriters are.

"You're the color of the sky reflected in each storefront windowpane...."
-Jackson Browne
Sky Blue and Black


   
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(@snoogans775)
Reputable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 297
 

there've been a few posts lately about how to tell how good you are, but we are not the ones to judge ourselves, we suck at it, as long as you keep an effort in, you get better all the time, and you'll never know unless someone else tells you

and that's why this forum is so geat, though there've been very few replies lately, you heartless, selfish people :x :D

I don't follow my dreams, I just ask em' where they're going and catch up with them later.
-Mitch Hedburg
Did you see that!


   
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(@xlosexyoux)
Active Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 12
 

hey Vee.
you say that you can't keep up with writing an entire song, which is fine. you should force yourself to write a whole song in one sitting.

i'm sorry. i messed up my own post. i didn't mean to say "you should force yourself yada yada .." i mean SHOULDN'T. again, sorry for messing that up.

"i collect friends, i have about three." - ville valo

"listen, ryan's at it again. he just got stabbed in the eye with a fork and now he has to rock a pirate patch for atleast a month. its ridiculous." 'valo' *bam margera*


   
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 Vee
(@vee)
Active Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 8
Topic starter  

ahh thank you all! I really needed some boost of confidence from someone. Thank you all again. I will keep writing :)


   
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(@b0sendorfer)
Eminent Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 15
 

Hey Vee.

I just wanted to say the EXACT same thing happens to me all the time. I start writing a song, I don't think it's good enough and then I just stop working on it.
I've just recovered from a minor case of writer's block, and the first song I wrote after I couldn't write for a long time, I really liked in the beginning. But after a while, after I started working harder on it, I didn't feel it was good enough. I felt that it was boring/stupid, etc. Then I posted it here, and after the positive critique I received I felt much more confident in my writing, and was inspired.

It's the same situation here: I think TOO much. My lyrics have to be perfect, and they have to be exactly how I want them. For example, I always try NOT using words like, the, and, for, then, etc, because I think it makes my lyric look bad. But the truth is, you can't write songs without using those words, (or at least for a long time) and it really isn't a big deal if I do. I just simply think it makes my lyrics bad.

And I realized that, from posting here about 3 months after I stopped, other peoples critique REALLY do help you, and the worst critic is yourself.

Sorry for sorta ranting, I just had to let that out. :)


   
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 Vee
(@vee)
Active Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 8
Topic starter  

Hey Vee.

I just wanted to say the EXACT same thing happens to me all the time. I start writing a song, I don't think it's good enough and then I just stop working on it.
I've just recovered from a minor case of writer's block, and the first song I wrote after I couldn't write for a long time, I really liked in the beginning. But after a while, after I started working harder on it, I didn't feel it was good enough. I felt that it was boring/stupid, etc. Then I posted it here, and after the positive critique I received I felt much more confident in my writing, and was inspired.

It's the same situation here: I think TOO much. My lyrics have to be perfect, and they have to be exactly how I want them. For example, I always try NOT using words like, the, and, for, then, etc, because I think it makes my lyric look bad. But the truth is, you can't write songs without using those words, (or at least for a long time) and it really isn't a big deal if I do. I just simply think it makes my lyrics bad.

And I realized that, from posting here about 3 months after I stopped, other peoples critique REALLY do help you, and the worst critic is yourself.

Sorry for sorta ranting, I just had to let that out. :)

It's nice to know I'm not alone :) I felt like I was reading a post from myself while I was reading that haha


   
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(@snoogans775)
Reputable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 297
 

I've never seen so much positive energy in a post before, I can't wait to see what everbody posting here writes next

I don't follow my dreams, I just ask em' where they're going and catch up with them later.
-Mitch Hedburg
Did you see that!


   
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(@maxwell)
Estimable Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 131
 

Personally, I never think my songs are as good as others seem to. Those who claim to write excellent songs all, or even most of the time, are quite often very poor writers because they refuse to listen to criticism. Even if you really like what you have written and someone writes a critique that just shreds your work, that forces you to look at your writing in a different light, and you will be better able to understand what is good and what could be improved.

I started writing lyrics about age 12 and continued until about 21. About two years ago I started writing again. I pulled out some of the stuff I wrote between 16 and 18 and what I thought was really good then, I laugh at now. I also found some that I didn't really like back then that, with a little tweaking, have become acceptable if not good. Now I am 40 and still get stumped, write a lot of things that aren't good, but contain some good lines. I keep them in an "ideas" folder in my computer, which I review from time to time, changing things, adding, deleting, etc. When I finally get something I feel is acceptable I post it here for others to critique.

Don't fall into the trap of thinking you have to make changes just because others suggest them. You may be a far better writer than they are. On the same note, don't feel bad about your writing if someone offers suggestions that improve your song. I once felt that I must be a poor writer because so many suggestions did improve my songs. I now know better.

No one starts out great. Not everything that is a huge success is really good. Read the lyrics to some of the most popular songs. As you mentioned some of them aren't very good; in fact some of them are downright bad. Money talks and a lot of songs that hit the top 40 are there only because the producers spend literally millions of dollars in marketing. Listen critically to your favorite artists. When I analyze some of my favorite songs, I often discover that the lyrics, voice quality, musical arrangement would be very poor alone, but when all three are put together, they really hit the ear with a perception of excellence.

If you have a good melody for your lyrics, record yourself singing it. Forgetting melodies is a common problem of mine when looking at old lyrics. Quite often what appears poor works great with the right melody.

I can't offer advice about guitar playing because I am still very much a novice on guitar and keyboard, but the advice already offered sounds very credible.

As Nick pointed out, there are a couple really great articles he has written on song writing. Check them out.

Always keep a copy of your original, unedited work. It is sometimes very helpful to look at your final song, which may have been changed a dozen or more times, alongside the original. It helps you to develop critical analyzing skills.

I have written dozens of lyrics, and NOT ONE has survived without several re-writes.

But MOST IMPORTANTLY, don't get discouraged! I sometimes go for weeks without being able to write a thing except an occasional line that pops into my head, then my muse pays a visit and I spit out a lot of decent stuff all at once.

He not busy being born is busy dying. - Bob Dylan (It's Alright Ma, I'm Only Bleeding)


   
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(@p_allen)
Estimable Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 83
 

Don't worry mate it has happened to all of us and annoyingly continues to do so. The big problem is that people are their own worst critic. This won't change.

Your best bet is too keep at it. It may seem like pretty pathetic advice but there isn't any instant cure for this. Read Nick's articles they help a lot, write something, post it up, see what people say, make some changes. Keep doing this and gradually you will take all the little tips and bits of advice from peoples comments and use them in your songs without even realising. Post something up people here aren't gonna knock you - they'll offer support, advice, improvements. It's all good.

As for your worry about the music, don't. I'm not brilliant either but by listening to loads of different songs, different guitarists and different versions of the same songs I have learnt all sorts of different techniques, chord voicings and other little bits 'n' pieces and a lot of it's very simple. So just listen to loads of music and experiment.

Happy writing,

Pete. :)

Why Do Other Peoples Shipbuilding When you Could Go Diving For Pearls Of Your Own?


   
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