Sitting down to write a song can be rather uninspiring at times. The same stale room, same sound quality of the piano and shapes of my fingers, the same progressions and scales in my melodies – I keep writing the same song over and over again…I actually find that the best way to come up with something new and refreshing is to get as far away from my keyboard as possible.
One of the most inspiring things is a mental distraction, usually driving my car (if it decides to run that specific day) or going for a run. I can never remember which side of the brain is supposed to be the creative side, but that side can think for itself when the other half of the brain is busy doing repetitive motor skills, like moving my legs to run or my eyes, feet and hands to drive. So there’s the science of it – do some repetitive and routine action and let your left (or right? grr) brain discover something pure and unaffected by the routines and knowledge of the right (or left? double grr) brain.
I usually listen to music when I drive and run, but that doesn’t seem to stop random melodies or progressions or hooks from magically presenting themselves in my mind (innocent of plagiarism until proven guilty, no?). I also tend to come up with more up-tempo songs when I’m on the move. Its easy to come up with something somber, melismatic, or emotional when I’m sitting alone with my thoughts…They seem to go on either side of the distraction fence – sometimes my thoughts distract me from everything else and I have the perfect way of putting them into verse the first time around…other times they put me in a rut and I can’t seem to express anything musically. But the breeze on my face, gravel or grass under my feet, other people running or driving, the speed of the trees buzzing past, the sturm and drang (or placidity) of the water next to me, and the animals I see put me in a state of mind that I can’t seem to replicate infront of my notebook and keyboard.
The hardest part: remembering all of the inspiration long enough to put it on paper when I’m done running.