Monday, June 15, 2020

What do we write when we're sad?

I once had a friend tell me that he didn't understand why people write sad songs when they're sad.  He said when he's sad the last thing he wants to do is make himself sadder with a song. So when he is feeling blue is pushes himself to write happy songs to cheer him up.  I wish it was that simple for me.

I've heard so many songwriters say "songwriting is therapy!" They're not wrong.  In cowrites, it is often like a mini group therapy session where we spend time talking about the heaviest things on our hearts and put them into songs. If the song is about something I've gone through, at the end of the writing session when I sing the song it feels like a part of the pain is leaving my body as I sing.  

This is something I have been struggling with during quarantine.  When I sit down to write lately, only my sad thoughts and ideas come out.  I have been going back and forth wondering if I should dive into it and just write all of the saddest songs I can during this time period or if I should fight it and try to push myself to write some "bops" going into the summer.  So far I've been trying to do a little of both.

Quarantine has forced most of us to spend time self-reflecting and this has been a blessing and a curse for my creativity.  I find myself continuously writing down song ideas and writing bits and pieces of songs but I'm not finishing as many songs as normal. Maybe this is due to solo writing but I think it might be more of a mental block I've created for myself.  When I write about a subject it is the most connected I feel with that emotion.  Writing lyrics is like reliving the moments.  Even if the story isn't the truth word for word, or even if I use a completely different story to tell my emotion, songwriting is often like reliving that emotion. 

During this time I'm writing down every hook, every idea, every emotion.  I can't tell you how many times I've kept an idea for years before finally writing it. I'm trying not to be too discouraged that I haven't written as much as I wish I had during this time period.

I apologize this is less of a blog with a purposeful point and more of a string of consciousness as I analyze how and why I write the way I do when I'm sad. If you're a writer, I'd love to hear about your process as well! Feel free to message me or comment below!

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