Last night, I put down my hook book after jotting down some half-way decent lyric ideas. I stopped writing, not because I ran out of creativity, but because my pen sucked. I just can’t write with a sucky pen.
I’m not really that much of a priss. I don’t have to wait for the 5th Tuesday in November when the moon is in the 7th house and Jupiter aligns with Mars. I can write songs just about anywhere, anytime. When it comes to ideal songwriting weather, however, there are a few things on my wish list.
- A good pen.
When I am writing, it’s a lot of stops and starts. I think or feel or play or improv for a bit, then, when I know I’ve got something, I frantically write it down. I write fast, so I like a pen that’s smooth. I’ll resort to the average Bic, but I’m much happier with a free-flowing Uni-ball. Black, blue, pink. I don’t care about that. It’s the flow.
- Easy record and playback system.
I use Voice Memos, an app on my iPhone. If you’ve been a fan for long, you know this system has backfired on me, but it’s the one that’s with me most of the time.
And now for some real dreaming…
- A feedback partner.
So many times, I am part-way through writing something. I’m either already in love with the song, and wish I had someone to be like, “OMG! Isn’t this amazing!?!” Or I’m not in love with it. I’m stuck, knowing I need a little nudge from outside my box. If only I had a feedback partner to call and ask, “What the hell with this chorus?” I have participated in a songwriter’s circle, but that hasn’t given me exactly what I want, and hello? This is a wish list. I’m shooting high.
- Unlimited chord theory knowledge and ability.
Often while writing, I hear things in my melodies that I cannot play. I can’t find the chord to match the direction the melody could go, so I’ve had to compromise. What if I could summon every possible chord that could work for a tricky spot in my song? What if I understood the relationships between the thousands of chords available to me? That shit makes me giddy.
- Instant ability to play other instruments.
I can’t go back in time and continue the piano lessons I started at age 14. Man, do I wish I could play piano now. Or electric guitar. Or drums, or bass, or flute, or fiddle, or anything. Except maybe bagpipes. I love playing guitar, but what kinds of creativity could happen if I could play even one more instrument? Look at Prince! He mastered like 27 instruments! And *sigh* – his vocals!
- Regular leisure travel, preferably solo.
New places and new experiences send my writing through the roof. I started two new songs on my recent trip to New Orleans, and finished another. Plus I wrote tons of snippets and brainstormed fun lyrics. In five days.
- Someone to manage my website.
It needs an overhaul. Honestly – look around. I’d rather spend my creative energies elsewhere. Any takers? Cheap?
- Multiple voice coaches.
And the funds and time to really study voice. I’ve learned so much from my current voice coach, Marlena Hooker-Moore. I want true command of my voice, and why settle on just one teacher? I might as well wish for a few.
Now, I am aware that this is partly in my control. I do block out time to write. In fact, I’m damn good at that. That doesn’t change the fact that I might have to stop in the middle of a great creative streak to go drop off a kid at her friend’s house or leave to go teach a lesson. I doubt I’d want to write songs full time, but I wish I had total control of my time. All the time.
Some of my songwriter friends added they would like a world tour, organized by someone else; roadies and sound engineers – free; and someone to create and manage merch. Those sound a little more like “performer’s wish list” items. Maybe that’ll be another post. In the meantime, we can dream.
Creative types! What’s on your wish list? Comment below!