Like a lot of things that we need to do regularly, the activities required for successful songwriting need to be established as a regular habit. With most habitual things, e.g. smoking, drinking, exercise etc, we need to start doing them regularly and then the habit forms, compulsion of some sort takes over and we don’t look back. But being disciplined enough to start is pretty difficult. The people around us, I think psychologists call this our reference group, have a large part to play in this too. If they are smokers, drinkers or exercisers it is easier for us to get going. If not, it’s not so easy.
How do you get there from here?
Another thing is whether you have been successful at it already or not. If you are Diane Warren or Eg White then when people (your reference group, remember?) ask you what you are doing, you say, “writing a song”, and they leave you alone. When I tell them I am writing a song I get strange looks, the validity of the activity is questioned and the whole thing is dismissed and disapproved of.
Mind the gaps
So what’s the answer? Having a string of smash hit songs would help. But prior to that how do we get some time to write? The answer at the moment seems to be utilising all the ten, five, or even two, minute periods that crop up through the day. The luxury of a couple of hours to sit down and write seems unlikely. This requires some discipline to use the time effectively. I am trying to train myself to spot these short periods of time as they come up and to use them effectively to things things up, write things down or just hum a little. I am watching for those gaps in the day as they appear.