By Gary Burr Songwriting Master Class • August 19, 2016
Writing a song is an amazing and mystical process. It's also roll-up-your-sleeves hard work and involves a great deal of headache-inducing staring at a blank page (or a computer screen for you "kids").
I have been doing this since I was seventeen years old. I am not good at math but I believe that works out to 273 years. I do not go to bed at night thinking "Hot damn! Tomorrow I get to write a song!!" I DO go to bed at night with an anticipation that makes it hard to go to sleep. Will I get one tomorrow? Will the antenna be up? Will I perform in the clutch and rise to the occasion?
And how will my songwriting session go?
See what I did there? That's the kind of cleverness that can help you lose friends but write good songs.
Here are some of the axioms writers have said to me over the years that have changed how I work:
"Son, you and I are gonna write a great song!
"Probably won't be THIS one…"
Harlan Howard (On our first day of collaborating)
"The first line of the song is everything. If you don't grab them with a great first line you are wasting your time"
Victoria Shaw (every time we write)
"That's EXACTLY what we want to say!! Now say it the way NORMAL people talk."
Georgia Middleman (After I had just said something very poetic and smart…but too "songwriter-y)
Me: "Does this song have a point? "
Young songwriter: "Songs are supposed to have points?"
Gary Burr(To a young songwriter who shall remain anonymous)
"Write for ten minutes every day. Even if you just write about how stupid you feel writing when you have nothing to write about"
Mike Reid (who can write for ten minutes about a lamp and probably have it be a hit)
I have a Songwriting Masterclass coming up in October (Check my website for details…also, someone check to see if Masterclass is ONE word or two.) and it is amazing how much wisdom you can impart after hanging around listening to brilliant people for over two centuries.