On Songwriting | Musings On How To Write a Song

Too Good to Be True?

Too Good to Be True?

Have you ever written a song that sounded too good to be true?

Not in an ego-centric expression of “C’est moi, what an amazing songwriter am I!” but in the genuine sense of “This song sounds pretty good. It must already exist — I just can’t remember where I originally heard it.”

Yet there it is, your new song. A finely-crafted melody with good, easy-flowing words. How is it possible that this song has been out there floating around in the ether for literally anyone to grab and make their own, yet you’re the first and only one to notice it, write it down and record it?

Kind of like a bunch of fisherman angling on the same river at the same time with essentially the same bait. Then, out of the blue, BOOM — a huge, feisty and majestic German Brown that had been owning those waters for years is suddenly hooked on a single thin line, just as surprised as the one who just caught him.

Unlike the trout that may well be released, however, there you are with something beautiful and wild right out of that teeming river of creativity where songs hatch and swim around freely… a genuine keeper.

Most of the time, of course, it’s rare to hook a finished song out of thin air, whole and fully formed. It’s usually harder work than that with multiple iterations, edits and twists along the way.

But even after I’ve found my way through the creative process and crafted a new song, I often second-guess if the latest one is really mine.


Nobody wants to tread on the IP of another songwriter or represent that a creation is yours when it isn’t. With literally millions of songs already written and in the bag, so to speak, it makes you wonder how it’s even possible to create something totally brand new. How can there be anything left that hasn’t already been thought of by somebody else?

Yet it happens all the time, and that’s one of the most special and true things about songwriting. Your next song hasn’t been written yet, and nobody will ever hear it until you create, perform and publish it.

How it works, why it’s possible… I’ll leave those questions for others to answer. I simply believe that if you approach songwriting from your own genuine point of view, listen and respond to ideas that are authentically your own, bring them forth with the help of the Muse and work the craft, magic can happen.

Do that, and every so often, it really is true.