“What if the best that I can be just isn’t good enough?
Isn’t it better not to know?”

Jonathan Coulton, Big Bad World One

It is hard not to wonder exactly how good your ability to write songs is. Constantly. I tend to like the results, but I’m hardly objective. Other people tell me they like them. Actually, I just realised, no-one ever has ever been objective, so let’s not worry about that one.

And there’s the point. What is a good song? There’s obviously not a correct answer here. Just look at music criticism. Or the comments section on a youtube video of a song. Actually definitely don’t do either of those things. It’s just not worth it.

Every time I start down this rabbit hole, I just remember that ultimately, I get to write songs and I’m lucky enough to even be able to record them to a half decent standard and then put them somewhere where anyone might find them, and, potentially, like them.

I win.

As to the whole question posed by the song quote above, I simply don’t believe that everyone can be excellent at something. It’s a constant refrain in our society that everyone has their skill, the one thing they can be the best at. For some reason this is often implied to be a creative thing.

Of course everybody can be creative, but that doesn’t mean we can necessarily ‘excel’ in some area of the arts. And the chances of the thing we gravitate to naturally and enjoy doing being the thing we can get to the top of the bell curve in are even slimmer. In life the majority of us will fall around the middle of the normal curve.

But it doesn’t matter. It’s definitely better not to know. It’s much more important to enjoy yourself and damn the critics. And to never read comments on youtube.

The weekly dilemma

You might have got the impression, should you have read around the site a little, or should you know me at all, that I’m not exactly consistent when it comes to… well, a fair few things, honestly, but we’re here for music, so let’s talk songwriting.

Busyness and tiredness are the worst enemies of creativity, as any fule kno. No idea if that’s actually true, but I’m going to run with it. The times when I’ve been on the edge of prolific is when I have a little space. Particularly a little space on a regular basis. And a lack of tiredness, but that’s another matter.

There’s generally not a lot of space to be found these days. There’s always something to be done. So what to do?

In the same way that I’m forcing myself to post something here every week (hence this post –  couldn’t think what to write about) we’re also blocking out Wednesday evenings out for songwriting/art in our house. It’s actually worked reasonably well so far. Most of them have been collaborative sessions so far – Cec came and helped finish up Pint of gold before recording, some/all of Roo’s Radio have been round on various weeks to work on a song we’re hopefully recording at the end of this month, Oberland.

But then what if I’m not in the mood? You’re smart people, I’m not going to patronise you and tell you about forming habits, I’ll just speak for myself. So far it hasn’t been too much of a problem. Some weeks I’m more productive, some weeks less. I just wrote that of the top of my head, but yeah, it’s actually probably easier to think in terms of productivity instead of mood. No I won’t be productive every week. But so what? Fixing one line in one chorus is still better than collapsing in a heap in the corner.