The Songwriting Process

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I’ve been writing and recording music for awhile but I have always had trouble creating a standard process. As a challenge to develop more efficient songwriting and recording, I gave myself one hour to write and record at least the bare bones of a song. Some people in the past have asked me about my process, so I took notes during the hour to share with those of you who are curious. Here is a little window in to my workflow:


6:00 pm

I turn the TV to whatever sport event is on and mute it because I like to have something going in the background while I work. I open the music memos app on my iPhone to go back over old ideas I may want to use.

6:03 pm

I question why I ever thought these were good ideas. I delete half of them. I sit down at the computer and open the recording software, Ableton. Let’s start from scratch. It’ll feel good to get some new stuff down.

6:08 pm

I’m thirsty.

6:15 pm

I have been distracted by a news headline and started looking things up. I am likely three clicks away from the philosophy wikipedia page. Time to reset. I pull up Ableton again and decide to start making a beat.

6:21 pm

I’m hungry.

6:25 pm

This beat sounds cheesy. I’ll try something else. This is hard. Half of my hour is gone. I get up and stare outside for a few minutes, looking at a tree until my mind goes blank and the anxiety goes away. I go back to my computer, delete the old beat, and start a new one.

6: 37 pm

John Turturro’s lawyer character tells Naz he’s not saying he thinks he’s guilty or innocent. I don’t remember turning HBO on.

6:50 pm

I pick up my guitar and start to strum a bit but I stop every time a character on TV speaks. It becomes a hassle and I set the guitar down.

7:00 pm

The hour is over. Some tune is in my head from when I was messing around with the guitar. I get my phone and quickly record the idea. I suspect it’s not good and keep the default name “My Idea 8.”

7:30 pm

The episode is over, but HBO is going to auto-play the next episode. I lean to the side on my couch and pull a blanket over myself.



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