Songwriting Focus

How to stay focused when songwriting?

Optoproductions, Mixing Engineer on SoundBetter

How to stay focused when songwriting?

This is something you might not realize at first, but having a place where you can work at ease without any distractions is absolutely necessary to enhance your music making practice. Making music is a very creative process and requires a lot of focus that should be maintained. You don’t want to be interrupted every time inspiration strikes.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m writing lyrics and I hear people talking in the background, see BBC news in the corner of my eyes and get drilled out of my house by construction workers, I have a tough time staying focused.

This is the reason people like to work in music studio’s because it is completely isolated from the outside world. Unless you have a studio in your home, here are some things you can do to help you stay in focus.

Songwriting FocusHow to stay focused?

You might already have a room in your house where you like to work, but in case you don’t, try to set up a desk in your bedroom. Maybe you have a desk in your room but find it cluttered with stuff all the time. This isn’t an ideal situation to work in so try to tidy up your desk as much as possible.

Close your windows, turn off the phone and television, shut down Facebook and Outlook and grab a kitchen timer. Set your timer for an hour, or how many minutes you might have, and get to work. Reading about writing songs, mixing techniques, microphone reviews and the likes is interesting, but it won’t stand a change compared to the amount of work you get done by just committing to it. Tell your housemates you don’t want to be interrupted and I assure you progress will be made.

After your timer expires you should have written some lines and even though you might not be close to a final product, the creative juices started flowing and you have some material to work with. Maybe you got really inspired and have lots of new ideas to keep on working. As long as you stay focused for the time you have, progress is there to come.

Efficiency and working quickly

If you play an instrument, try to put it close to your desk so you can grab it when you need to. Have a microphone and recording device armed and ready so you can record any ideas you come up with. Make sure your gear is within reach and every cable is hooked up.

The key part of getting results is working quick. Don’t allow criticism to strike as this is not the time and place for that. Use your ears and your gut feeling. It doesn’t matter if you only get half or less of the work done, just don’t look back and sit there until your timer starts to beep.

Working in a safe and controlled environment like this has worked for me dozens of time. Get a new desk if you feel for a change and sell the stuff you don’t use. I use this process for writing songs as well as mixing. Most of the time my 1-hour mix sounds way better than a 10-hour mix. Overthinking is your worst enemy at this stage of creating music. You can always go back and edit it later when you have the time.

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