I honestly didn’t know what would happen when I committed to writing a song a day. On one level I thought it was way too ambitious. I was also afraid that it would be hard, stressful, and perhaps impossible- that I might let myself down. I ran through those possibilities- and, I also just felt that I needed to at least try. I think a part of me hoped for magic.
Today is Day 3 and I just “finished” song #3. Just to be clear, given my amateur ability at instruments other than my voice, “finished” for me means having a complete draft of lyrics with melodies worked out for the whole song. For the past year and a half I’ve been recording a snippet here and there, writing lyrics without melodies, and generally recording thoughts and song ideas without developing them any further.
For the last 3 days I’ve either written a new song, or taken some small snippet and more fully explored it. When I’ve developed the song to where I’m happy with it I use my phone to record an acapella version of the song. I just do it once, nothing fancy, I don’t bother to rerecord if I don’t hit every note. The recording is meant to be a more complete sketch, outline, or draft of how the melody and lyrics work together. But I’m having the opportunity to push through the resistance, subdue my tendency to get distracted, and ask myself what each song is really about, what I really want to say, what is the “so what?” of the song. It’s honestly been so satisfying.
What’s been amazing about this little challenge I’ve cooked up for myself isn’t just that I’m getting further with my songwriting, which of course is awesome, but I’m also feeling more joyful and energetic in general. I’ve been struggling with low energy… for a few months at least…. and since I started this I’m excited to get out of bed, I feel a deep and fulfilling sense of accomplishment when I complete a song, I’m enjoying the process, I’m sleeping better as I feel more clear about the day being done, and as I’m pushing through the places where I’ve been blocked in my songwriting process I’m feeling… less blocked…. more empowered and more capable in my chosen art.
I’ve heard it said, and I know it to be true, and yet still I’m learning it again- there is a magic we invite in when we commit to what we most truly love or want. I didn’t know I could do this when I started, but now I know I can do it and suddenly I’m looking at what else I thought I couldn’t do… and asking… What can I really create if I want to?
I know it’s only day 3 and I’ve still got 19 songs and a month left before I’m actually done- so I’m not celebrating my overall victory yet… but…. I kind of am because I already feel like I’m winning just by virtue of how great my life feels with this challenge in it. If I don’t write another song I still learned how magical it is to have a little pressure to motivate my creative process. I still learned how much energy is generated simply by having made a commitment. I still learned how to push through my own resistance. I still started to learn how to follow my own artistic impulse deeper into the creative process, to more deeply commit to my aesthetic sense of how I want a song to go. And- I’m actually really excited about what else there is to learn and experience. What songs will be emerging, what other resistance, what other challenges? I’m excited to get up tomorrow.
I do find it fascinating that I’ve been compelled to make my challenge public(ish)- and yet it is helping me. Not just for the support that I am so grateful for, but for a soft kind of accountability that I’m experiencing. No one is going to be disappointed in me (other than perhaps myself) if I don’t complete this. But having made a clear announcement of my intention I energetically feel more committed. What I’m choosing to do feels more real, more like a reality I am stepping deeper into every day and less like an idea that I could lose interest in or motivation about when it’s uncomfortable.
It seems so much of our lives are lived out in social media these days, and generally I have mixed feelings about that….and, in the simplest terms possible doing this publicly is helping me do something that is deeply meaningful for me. It’s helping me challenge myself to deepen my commitment to what I love. Thanks for being my witnesses.