I recently finished a book called The Frustrated Songwriter's Handbook. (Here's wikipedia's summary). My neighbor gave me this book back in February for my birthday. Yes it is September; my unread book stack is long.
This book discusses the mental blocks that plagues songwriters. Things like... Is this song cheesy? Is it pretentious? Will anyone enjoy listening to it if I do this? I have no idea where to go from here. That kind of thing. And those blocks lead to a lack of productivity or outright procrastination.
In order to get past those creative blocks, the authors suggest playing a songwriting game where high volume is the goal over quality. Specifically, one should try to write 20 brand new songs in a 12 hour period. With that kind of deadline it becomes easier to press on and worry about quality later. Some of the songs may end up being junk but others will be worth developing later. Which is better than getting stuck while accomplishing nothing.
The authors do this as a part of a group. Each person goes off to do his writing and then everyone gets together to share results. The group should be non-judgmental, a safe place to share ideas even if they end up being discarded.
Some groups exist already, here's a list. There are none in San Diego so if I want to play this game with others I will have to start one. I'm not sure I know musicians who would be interested but I might send out an email to a couple to see. Of course I could try it solo too.
Full IMM Rules
- Session must last at least 12 hours
- The goal is to write 20 completely new songs that day
- No pre-written material is allowed though pre-conceived concepts are allowed (such as arrangement ideas, titles, concepts)
- No emailing, facebooking, etc. Music only during the day-long session
- Strive to always keep going, don't worry about quality for now
- For the same reason, do only a single take during recording
- At the end of the day, everyone gets together to share what was accomplished