On Songwriting | Musings On How To Write a Song

Problem Solving

Problem Solving

Sometimes it can be helpful to look at one creative pursuit through the lens of another.

What can shopping for fresh ingredients and then prepping and cooking a wonderful meal teach you about songwriting? How does your knowledge of, say, storytelling or literature inform your efforts in an adjacent area of interest?

I’ve come to believe that the art of oil painting is mostly about the art of problem solving. How do you represent the full spectrum of daylight in all its brilliance and luminosity with tubes of mostly opaque paint? Think about it — the whitest white is bland and chalky compared to a single ray of sunlight.

So how does a painter get a painting to “read” such that art viewers are pleased and satisfied by what they see? No easy task that.

How long does it take to paint a painting? The answer is some number of hours or days, plus years or decades of ongoing work, failure, progress, study, comprehension, trial, error, growth and development. With each painting and every trip to a museum, the artist has the opportunity to progress on a journey that yields ever finer distinctions and greater knowledge.

Knowledge precedes execution. Although anyone can have an occasional happy accident, nobody can consistently paint better (or cook better or write better) than he or she knows how.


So what does all of this have to do with songwriting?

The answer is totally up to you.

But if you’ve noticed or learned something about songwriting from an entirely different creative interest, please drop me a line or share a comment. You never know when a nugget inside your own head may help somebody else in just the right way at just the right time.