Make the Time to Write

One thing that I’ve got to do is start setting aside time to write lyrics and poetry on a regular basis.

I’ve made time and created the habit of writing these posts over my lunch hour at work.  I spend the first thirty minutes typing up and starting to clean up what I have written each day in my journal.  Then I spend the next 30 minutes writing an initial draft of another post in my journal.  The subjects vary and are based on little notes I write to myself and place in the journal for future reference.

I’ve also set aside time to read poetry and I do this for the same reason I try to listen to different types of music, ideas.

I read an article which described your head as a punch bowl and by adding more ingredients to the punch bowl the concoction you ladle out will be more unique and original.  So I’ve been reading classic Victorian area poetry.  I seem to like those the most.

Just like music I need to expand my selections of poetry and reading in general.

The problem with how I write my lyrics and poetry is I can never get into a flow while writing.  Right now the most creative and productive time for me is about 20 to 30 minutes each morning when I get up and get ready for work.

I’m alone and it’s quiet.  There is no one placing any outside demands on me.   In the shower, on the toilet, shaving or even the few minutes I lie in bed after the alarm has sounded, these seem to be my most productive times.

Lines can run through my head and I silently repeat them, edit and repeat.  And once I have what I need I keep repeating it until I get to my office basement to check my morning email and quickly scribble it down on paper before the demands of the day wipe them from my memory.

Then I’m off to work and lose my flow, the flow of words.

It’s tough to just pick up and start adding on.

I write down these lines on a piece of scrap paper.  I’ve started taking 8-1/2 X 11 sheets of paper where one side has something printed on it and tearing them in half.  These are sheets that would normally go into the recycle bin but I’m getting one more use out of them.  They are the perfect size to fit in a coat pocket, automobile console or to just have lying around at home or at work.

So the few lines that I am able to come up with I write on one of these pieces and then throw it in a folder with other pieces that contain lines that may or may not be part of what I am currently writing.

At some point I will take the time to sit down and pull out all these lines on pieces of paper and start putting them together.  I may or may not have what I feel is a completed work ready for final editing.  I may find one set of lines that I start putting together and decide to take the time and finally finish the piece.

Once I feel I have a completed piece I’ll start to write it out a tablet of paper.  Right now I like the yellow legal pads.  Something feels right when I use them.  And every time I write and rewrite the lines I’m editing.

When I finally feel that I have the entire piece completed on the tablet I’ll then go to my computer in my basement office and type it out, again editing as I go.

Through this whole process I will stop and read the words out loud to see if they flow when spoken.  Do they cause me to stumble?  Does it feel like I’m cramming in words that shouldn’t be there?  If so I’m editing, usually cutting words rather than adding words.

After its all typed out I read it again, edit, read, edit.  If I can get through it twice without feeling there needs to be a change then I consider it complete.

I wish I knew if they will work being set to music.

This piece meal process can take me five to ten days to complete one set of lyrics or poem.  The actual writing time may only be one or two hours.

One of the best pieces I wrote, at least the one I like the best,  I actually set aside time and wrote it start to finish in about one hour.  I feel it flows very nice.

So I need to start scheduling time to do this, just like I set aside practice time for my drums.  It’s tough.  Time is a very precious commodity.

© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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