The hardest part about writing a song is finishing it. Wouldn’t it be nice if they all just flowed out of us in one, sweet sitting with no editing necessary? More likely is the fact that we’ll have to work at it to get it done. When you find yourself struggling to finish a song, consider these five points:
1. Discipline – most of us get a little lazy when we’re not really inspired. So we just put the song aside with the thought that we’ll get back to it when inspiration hits us again. The truth is that it’s just as likely we’re not going to be inspired about that particular song again unless we actually start WORKING on it again. So discipline yourself to sit down with it as many times as it takes to get it finished.
2. The Wall – you know what I’m talking about. Everything has been moving along nicely and suddenly you can’t go any further or find yourself stuck on one part that’s not working. What can you do? Sometimes it’s worth walking away and taking a breath, and then returning to it. Other times you have to be persistent and keep at it until you have a breakthrough (see #1). If it’s still not working, consider #4 and #5!
3. No Time – sometimes creativity needs patience. And time. If you can give it neither, you’re going to have a heck of a time (no pun intended) finishing anything. The only thing you can do to resolve this is to actually set aside the time. I’ve mentioned this before, but a regular sit down time for your writing just kind of teaches your creativity to come out after awhile. And even if it doesn’t right away, there’s always next time!
4. Out Of Juice – if you’ve been spending the time and the patience, but nothing is coming, maybe you’re just running low on inspiration. That’s the time to get out of your cubby hole and get some life experience. Even if it’s just going to a coffee shop and eavesdropping on conversations or people watching, get OUT of your little space and do something different. It doesn’t have to be expensive like a Hawaiian vacation, or scary like skydiving, it just has to be DIFFERENT.
5. It’s A Turd – yep, you know that sometimes that song just isn’t worth the time, sweat, blood and effort to finish. How do you know that? Because you’ve gone through the previous four things and none of it has helped. The song still sucks. So start another one!