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The Secret to Writing Great Songs

Okay, so I admit this newsletter’s subject may be a bit misleading. I don’t have a secret to writing a great song. At least, it won’t be one universal one that applies to everyone. In fact, I’m still looking for it!

I do believe that it’s such an individual thing, this “secret”, that no one thing that “works” for me would serve you in quite the same way. I’ve learned for myself many things since my last newsletter a month ago. One is to never suppress a creative idea, no matter how ridiculous it may seem. When I do finally take the time to sit still, I find I’m quite inspired by nature. Wild animals, for example, seem to just watch and observe and react, without feeling the need to apply on overly-instinctual filter on everything. I’ll admit, there are times where a little intellectualizing would probably serve them well; however, my point is that when it comes to creativity, allowing those primal instincts to come to the forefront is awesomely beneficial.

A month ago, I was fortunate enough to host a radio show on KFAI around the subject of creativity. It was incredibly fun and I found myself learning and expanding my own process during the discussion. Although the program is no longer hosted on KFAI’s web site, I’ve been able to upload the one-hour show to my Dropbox account, and here it is:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/5845656/WaveProject_2012-09-16.mp3

I am incredibly grateful to everyone involved in making the show a reality and it was a very meaninfgul experience. Until I was able to process everything discussed in that radio show, I had kind of hit a dry spell in my songwriting. This happens regularly, and I wasn’t overly concerned, but as I start to come up with new ideas I’m falling in love with music and songwriting all over again. And that, really, is my secret. I remember the passion that I originally felt for playing guitar and writing my first songs very vividly these days. I remember it best when I stop thinking and just let go.

Maybe that’s a part of it, too. Finding a place, whether it’s physical or mental (or both), that encourages you to be open to everything that you’ve experienced in your day and to channel it towards productive, creative energy. Again, if I said I knew what would work best for you in expressing yourself, I’d just be fooling you, and that’s not something I like doing. I’ll share, though, the things that drive me, and the things that work for me. For now, I’ll simply tell you about my thoughts above and that I have a show this week, on Thursday, the 18th, at Groundswell in Saint Paul, from 6 to 8.

I’ll think even more about what creatively works for me over the next couple of weeks and send that. I welcome your ideas and feedback, too! If you have anything to share, feel free to respond via e-mail, the web site, Facebook, or telepathy. That last one hasn’t worked well in the past, though, so try a different method first.

As always, thanks for listening, reading, and for your encouragement!

Much love,

John

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Thursday, October 18th
Groundswell Coffee – Saint Paul
6 – 8pm