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Learning To Write Honest Songs

In a world where you feel like perfection is everywhere you turn, it's hard to want to open up your soul for the whole world to hear. Especially when you're putting it on a recording that people can listen to over and over. That's what the best part of a song is, though. When you can relate, and feel what the artist is feeling. So how do you get past the barrage of perfectionism the world feeds us to write something raw and authentic.

When I first started writing, it was easy to write about my experiences, but not so easy to play those songs for others. So I started writing about other people's experiences, about movies, about stories I'd heard, anything that wasn't ACTUALLY about me. What I started to realize, though, was I was still writing about my experiences, because I was gravitating to the movies and stories that I related to. I was drawn to them like a moth to flame, because I felt what they were feeling. Didn't I want to be that kind of artist, too?

So I sat down to write, but the more I thought about other people hearing my deepest thoughts, the more writers block I had. How do you get past that fear? I'm not sure I have the full answer, and I'm not sure I ever will. The fear still exists every time I release a new song that's very real and honest. Here are some things I've learned over the years though:

  1. There is no time limit for writing about your experience

Sometimes, you feel like you need to write it all out while you are going through it. Yes, sometimes that can be helpful and very cathartic, but sometimes the wound is just too deep and fresh. It's ok to take your time to heal, the authenticity isn't going to disappear in that time. Sometimes, that healing time even gives a better perspective for the song. It took me almost 8 years to finally finish a song about my abusive relationship, and because of that time, I was able to write from the perspective of the pain AND the healing.

2. You can choose what you share

Just because there's some parts of your story you prefer to keep to yourself, doesn't mean you aren't being authentic or honest. Some people out it all out there, some people are more vague writers. Both are fine. You do what you are comfortable with. It's your story, your perspective, you are in total control of what you want to share and how you share. There is no wrong way to do it.

3. There is someone out there that can


Whatever it is you're deciding to share, there is usually at least one person out there that can relate, and wants or needs to hear that song. After you've assessed if you're ready and have decided how much you want to share, sit down to write. Try not to think of the haters, but the people who are going to relate and be drawn to your song. The people that need to know they're not alone.

4. Do it for yourself first and foremost

If nothing else, write the song for cathartic release. Putting your feelings into music form is one of the best therapies. Even if you never release it (which is completely up to you), it could be healing for you. Write out everything your feeling with no edits, no filter. That's just for you. Then you can go through and edit later but start with just laying it all out there. You may also find that the more your write, the more comfortable you become sharing your stories.

Remember: THERE IS NO WRONG WAY. It took a long time to feel comfortable, but I have found through sharing my stories, that I have made some of my closest friends. When you're open, people trust you and want to be open with you. Its one of the most beautiful experiences that I wouldn't trade for the world.

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