Writing Songs Fast

It’s robot music with an Indian flute. I wrote this song while I was doing my ‘Album in 30 Days’ project.

Needless to say, I didn’t finish that project on time. But, I learned something. As much as I would like for music to be that easy, it’s not. 30 days is too short a time for me to write, record, mix and master an album all by myself. And I know that now because I tried to do it. When I said I could do it, I had no idea. Now I know.

So for the last four months or so, I have been releasing a song every week. That pace is much better for me. 12–16 songs in 30 days is just too fast for my abilities. When writing, recording, producing and engineering songs, time can offer perspective. That time doesn’t exist if you’re giving the process roughly 2 days per song. You don’t have time to reflect, to ask yourself, “Is what I’m doing any good and is there any other way I could approach this to improve the end result?”

With two days per song, you’re pretty much flying blind. No time to think. One week per song works better for me. And, lo and behold, after four months, I have about 16 songs. So, maybe it’s time to release that album. Now, there are instances when only having a week to get out a song is a bit restrictive. I would like to make productions more lush, to work on massaging a lyric to perfection, or wait to get a perfect lead vocal take. But, I’m not convinced those things really add to the finished product of what I’m trying to accomplish as much as having more finished product does.

That’s the long and short of it. I would rather sacrifice perfection for output. But, of course, there is a limit. How do you know what your limit is? Well, I didn’t find mine until I said I would do something that I couldn’t do, and in failing to do so, I moved enthusiastically on to the next thing. So over promise and under deliver. But use the failures as the means by which you can determine what you’re capable of in the future. And then, under promise and over deliver. The key is whether you’re under or over, always deliver something and then the next thing will probably be better.