2nd Verse Blues

Fighting through writers block...

You're sitting there, writing a song.  You have a killer chord progression supporting a sweet melody and your first verse sets up the opening of what is bound to be a classic.  You've got an energetic chorus that's bound to leave a lasting impression through the rest of the song, and now it's time to come back and write the second verse.

So, um, yeah....second verse.  Um, I'm not really sure what I want to say now.

How many times have you had this experience?  I have it almost every single time I sit down to write a song.  Why is writing a pleasing second verse so difficult?  Why can we never say what we want to say and capture the feeling that we want to capture in that darn second verse?

My theory?  Writing the second verse is the first part of a song where real songwriting discipline and hard work kicks in.  The first verse of a song is usually catalyzed by a spark of inspiration that you luckily stumble upon.  You read a cool phrase in a book, or you stumble upon a breathtaking sight--you feel the spark of inspiration, and instantly, lyrics flow into your brain.  It seems easy to say something and to convey an emotion when you have that spark of inspiration.  But inspiration doesn't last long.  It leaves you quickly.  The only thing you can really rely on to finish a difficult song is discipline. 

Discipline will push you through the tough creative periods you experience as an artist.  There may be times that you experience terrible writers block and you can't seem to find the inspiration to write anything.  Force yourself to write something.  It probably won't be very good, but when you're having writer's block, you shouldn't worry about trying to create a masterpiece.  You should worry about training your mind to create its own inspiration.  Training yourself to painstakingly squeeze out some semblance of an inspired lyric during a period of creative drought is important.  It's like going to the gym and lifting heavy weights--it's difficult and it's hard to find the motivation to go and do it, but if you push yourself to get up and go lift, you'll become stronger and it will become easier to lift heavy weights down the road.  If you train yourself to push through a creative drought, you'll become a stronger songwriter and it will become easier for you to generate creative inspiration rather than having to wait for it to appear.

I don't know who said it, but this quote has been making its rounds on the internet for quite a while, and it's a good thing to remember when you're having a tough time breaking through that writer's block.

"Force yourself to work. Motivation is fleeting and it's easy to rely on because it requires no concentrated effort to get. Motivation comes to you, and you don't have to chase after it. Discipline is reliable, motivation is fleeting."


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