As the first post of this blog, I welcome you to this site! Lyrical Thinking encourages anyone interested in songwriting but needs some help getting started to jump in and give it a try! I hope to inspire you and give you ideas for how to use a journaling approach to writing songs. Relax, your goal is to get your thoughts and ideas out of your head and into a melody and rhythm. You never have to share your song with anyone. You don’t have to write a top 40 hit. As your journal, the primary audience is you!
The title of this post, “Good Morning, Sunshine!”, is a lyric from a song that often runs through my head in the morning. I thought it would make a friendly music-themed greeting. However, when I looked up the original artist, Oliver, I realized the real title is “Good morning, starshine!”, not “sunshine“. Ha! What a lucky accident! Right off the bat, I have a good example to illustrate one of the themes of the lyrical thinking process, Embrace Mistakes. I’ll write more in later posts, but for now, know that Happy Accidents are welcomed here at Lyrical Thinking.
First thing to know, I am not a professional musician. I’m a hobbyist who is drawn to create music by myself, or preferably, with other people. I’ve gone through years in my life where I did not have a musical outlet, but one way or another I’m always drawn back to it. Over the years, I’ve played viola in orchestras, taken guitar lessons, sang baritone in Sweet Adeline’s barbershop choruses, and I currently play the ukulele in a Ukestra. Recently, I discovered the joy of writing and mixing my own original songs. Making music is like a mediation for me. It is all engrossing and quickly puts me into a flow state. I’ve noticed a correlation between my stress levels and the amount of music that I make each week. If I have a week where I get very little time for music, I am grumpy and anxious!
Second, I’m not a professional writer. My degree is in Computer Science, and I worked for years as a product manager in high tech. Though I’ve always enjoyed reading, my writing has been limited to business proposals, white papers, and project status updates. My work is creative, but songwriting uses my brain in a completely different way.
“Since I’m not a musician and not a writer, why am I blogging about songwriting”, you ask? In 2014, I joined Danny Gregory’s Sketchbook Skool and started visual journaling. I was inspired by how, in addition to sketching, Danny encourages the creative process in general through all media. As a participant in the inaugural class of Sketchbook Skool, I saw how my fellow sketchers, novice and experienced artists alike, were inspired by the lessons and by sharing our work in the Skool forums. I filled many sketchbooks with drawings from my home, every day life, and vacations. I found sketching a great way to calm the mind, slow down and really notice the details.
Fast forward to 2022, I find myself making music more than sketching. Given the constraints of work and family, I go through phases where I focus on music more than visual arts, or vice versa. Turns out, this year has been a music year. 2021 was a rough year for me, as it was for so many, with the pandemic, riots, extreme weather, and general unrest. In addition, I had the trifecta of eldercare, personal health problems, and an out-of-whack work-life balance. Earlier this year, it was like one kid on the work-life-balance see-saw jumped off their side, and I came crashing down. To save my mental health and to recover my physical health, I decided to take the rest of 2022 as a “gap year”. I’m taking a break from professional work to cultivate other interests and to give myself space to evaluate what I want to do when I grow up. From this chaos, I’ve discovered songwriting. Similar to other types of journaling, through writing songs, I’ve been able to process my emotions and uncover feelings and thoughts I didn’t know existed. I have tried other forms of journaling in the past, but songwriting has captured my interest like no other.
YOU can write a song
Do you think you’re too old to write a song? Too young to write a song? Not musical enough? Not artistic enough? You can write a song. It doesn’t take a lot of special skills or years of musical training.
Have you always wanted to write a song, but you didn’t know where to start? Do you want to get something off your chest so you can stop thinking about it over and over again? This blog has a step by step guide for how to get started with songwriting, songwriting tips & tricks and inspiration for when you get stuck.
You can write a song. It will give you new skills, a new way of thinking, and may change your outlook.
I want to share this experience with you. Let’s share and learn together!
Do you write songs as a form of journaling? Are you an experienced songwriter who would like to share their craft? Would you like to write a song, but don’t know where to start? I’d love to hear from you. Post a comment or contact me at the address under the About page.