Ideal state of mind/environment


New member
So your a song writer. We all write songs in different places with different surroundings. What's your favourite?

If I've had a shit day there's nothing like getting a drink (especially spirits), having nobody around and getting a piece of paper and a pencil and maybe the old accoustic guitar to help (It's even better if you don't have to be up in the morning). As you may guess my lyrics aren't the most happy and chearful-though I do have my moments.
So you all have no special method of writing, no special state of mind-I'll look forward to seeing some of the results then.
I didn't see your post here until just now. I wouldn't worry about the lack of's the weekend.

As for me, I sit in front of my mixing board stone sober. I've tried, shall we say, augmenting my perception to help, but it never does. It just makes me lazy. I've also tried typing my lyrics on screen, but prefer pencil and paper. I don't know if that's the kind of info you were looking for, but that about sums it up.

It's funny about attitude though. I can't write lyrics pissed off, or during any intense emotional period because I can't get it down on paper. My head is too busy swimming with the emotions to get anything worth while. I find I'm better at writing lyrics while remembering the emotions rather than while I'm experiencing them. I'm far more analytical after the fact. I can explain my emotions better. Weird, huh?
CMiller, you've got my formula... Pad and pen by the piano or guitar. Also straight sober. Also after the fact. If I dive into an emotion to quickly, I might get alot written, but none of it will be any good. Angle is often the toughest to find: From which perspective do I want to say I'm hurt? Just blurt it out, or tell it as a narration of someone else's story? Past or present tense? Should I mention my addiction to chocolate milk, or leave that for another song? So many questions...

As for location, I tried the exotic last summer. Failed miserably. It just distracted the hell out of me. I need a cocoon - a haven away from the world to better observe it. Right now, I live on the 17th floor of an apartment which grants me a view on the Mount-Royal, downtown skyline and St-Lawrence seaway. 10' by 6' windows. Utopia. :)

Of course, I've written some of my best stuff while stuck as a night-watchman, under harsh neon lights and with nothing else to look at but the clock... So... ah hell, I don't know. Whatever works for you. Because I'm an actor at heart, I often create the blossoming song's universe in my mind before writing or playing anything. Mood, I think, is less about location than mindset. How you get that mindset depends on you. Just always have a pad and pen handy. For those catch phrases.
1. Definately pen and paper.

2. As alone as possible. There's nothing that hinders my creativity more than having other people around. I'm terrible at collaborating when it means that I have to write in the same room with another person. I feel most comfortable writing when I have the house all to myself (which is rare).

3. Booze can help sometimes. A few choruses for songs were written in the car on the way home after a night of booze.

That's all I can think of for now.
There's a Son Volt song with a line I swear is from a Cormac McCarthy novel, and whenever I hear it I'm reminded how useful other people's words are. A couple times I've found one good line in someone's work (never a song, always a novel or poem) and the rest of the lyrics organize around it. Like this line I've been walking around with:

"Green and gloomy eyes / In dark forms of the grass / Run away."

It's Wallace Stevens. I know I probably give it some weird rhythm that no one else would, but if stealing lines worked for the Beatles and Lou Reed, then fuck it, I will too. It takes you outside the usual first-person / egomaniac thing and lets you write a song from the perspective of a character in a movie. That always seems easier to me.
Howdy! Just found this site yesterday.

My songs usually come from boredom. Qasper said -- ". . . I've written some of my best stuff while stuck as a night-watchman, under harsh neon lights and with nothing else to look at but the clock..."
Exactly! I used to have this factory job where I did the same robotic thing over and over again all day with no mental distraction other than the infrequent conversation of my fellow workers (generally a bunch of ballcap-wearing, Copenhagen-chewing guys with nothing more interesting to talk about than trucks and football.)
I wrote quite a few songs at that job. Long drives can be good as well, if I keep the stereo off.

I don't often sit down with my guitar or keyboard with the intent purpose of writing a song. For me it's like trying to force a song out, and whenever I do that I only seem to be able to write crap (crappier crap than I'm capable of, anyway.)
Once I've got a song mostly worked out in my head, then I'll grab the guitar and figure out the chords and such.
The same goes for writing out the lyrics. They'll be mostly done before I bother to put them down, and then it's usually on the 'puter. Pen-and-paper writing is just so physically taxing! }:-)

There, I'm done with my self-important ramblings . . . .

1. Mini-cassette recorder at arm's length always. 2. Familiar place- comfortable. 3. Alcohol rarely helps, just confuses the issue- it'll kick your ass if you ain't careful- trust me. kmar
C. Lewis has partially mentioned one method that I use to write lyrics. When I read something, I will try to create a rewrite, and make it my own. But, usually, I'm always reacting to whatever's around me, and turning that into poetic journalism.

C. Lewis, thanks for that line "Green and gloomy eyes / In dark forms of the grass / Run away." I just wrote a possible chorus.
I like to drive and listen to songwriter's who have great imagery, and just 'free associate' with some of their lines, taking it to differnt places.
Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, and Bruce Springsteen are three of my favourites, and all produce different types of story lines.

Of course, if I was from Sheffield and wanted to write downer tunes, I'd just imagine that Wednesday or United had been drawn to play at Old Trafford in the FA Cup.

It all about the lighting

I have this lamp from my childhood, it's got this ink drawing of a ship on the beatup and tattered shade, as long as it's there I'm in my place. That orange glow just hums along with me.

"I think by now, that all my friends know
just what kind of light I like to smash my head into
like a moth, I'll leave my body behind for you... to devour"- Burning at Both Ends