You Have Super Powers, You Write Songs… Now You Just Need to Learn to Focus Those Songwriting Super Powers!
Ever feel like you were just bitten by a radioactive spider, or struck by lightning?
You feel the power flowing through you, but you’re not really sure what you can do or how to control it!
All musicians have super powers, they sculpt sound and evoke emotions in others.
Songwriters have the power to create songs nobody’s ever heard before.
Once you accept your super-powerness, it becomes a question of control… how do you control these powers?
The key is focus…
Focusing your attention and keeping it for extended periods of time.
Like this article cover shot, some things are crystal clear while others things are still blurry.
Want to Learn to Focus Your Attention on Demand?
Have laser sharp focus, where and when you want it?
Tune out distractions to get things done?
Start Easy and Keep it Manageable
- Teach yourself to commit to a task for short bursts
- Set limits for your attention span, 5 minutes to start
- Lengthen the bursts as your super power grows
- Advanced: create a series of short tasks and work uninterrupted for an hour or more with quick breaks when you need them
You don’t manage your time, you manage your attention!
But how do I pay attention?
Focus Your Super Powers: Action Steps
- Pick a task, example: brainstorm imagery for the verses
- Set a timer for 5 minutes (you can build this time up later), use your phone countdown timer
- For example: write everything you can think of as fast as you can, return to your prompt if you hesitate, write in pen, don’t edit or erase…
- Work only on your task…
- Until the timer is done
- No interruptions, stay on task, no other thinking, this gets easier
- Don’t go do something else, this is only hard at first
- When you hear distractions:
- Acknowledge it now, then let it go until the timer ends
- Return to your task
I allow myself to write a quick reminder in the margin of my notebook when necessary… Ex: pay power bill. If you write it down, it’s easier to move past it.
When the timer ends… your choice
- Continue, I want to complete this one now… review task, reset timer, go again
- Continue, I’m having fun, no timer…I’m in the flow, no where else I need to be… keep going… I will know when I’m done
- End task, I’m done… choose new task & time limit
- Break Time, write down what you want to do next, set a timer for a short break,
Optional: deal with the distraction (for example: go online to confirm all bills get paid on time)
Why Does It Work?
It works because imminent deadlines prompt intuitive, quick, good decisions
- You learn that you don’t have time to second guess your decisions
- You make decisions because it’s faster to choose than think about it
- Gets easier the more you practice
Does this sound familiar?
Practice every day.
I think I’ve heard that somewhere….
- Take 3-5 minutes to plan today’s writing session
- Choose things to work on, then put them in order
- Set your timer and
Try this several days in a row
- Notice the differences in how you make creative choices.
- You start to slip into the flow whenever you want!
- Practice works, it will quickly get easier.
Stacking tasks (Advanced)
Choose a large task and break it down into smaller steps, or
Take 5 minutes and create a list of related tasks and then put them in order.
For example: Listen to this I have a killer chorus… I’m writing verses today
Try each for 5 minutes:
- Pick a writing prompt, brainstorm key phrases and images
- Draft a story arc, plan the action and plan the emotional journey for the verses
- Imagery based on keywords, referring to all senses
- Synonyms for key words
- Rhymes for best words so far
- Phrases with imagery and best words
- Create couplets (pairs of lines) from phrases and rhymes
- Choose images and actions for each verse
- Choose best couplets for each verses
- Rewrite the verses in pen, add “la la la” where needed
10 x 5 minutes = rough draft for several verses in about an hour
Try it… Let me know how it works out and what you create!
Building Your Focus (Advanced)
- You learn to stay focused longer
- You can get focused faster and return to it if you’re distracted
- Play with the timer, experiment with different times and gradually increase it
- Some tasks take more time, set longer times or break them into chunks
- Attention span is a variable, not a constant… some days are better than others!
The Benefits of Focusing Your Songwriting Super Powers
- You make decisions faster and with more confidence
- You don’t get stuck… you don’t feel stuck
- Feeling time, you start to notice how time passes, you’ll sense when time is almost up and finish in time…
- Get used to more realistic goals and set realistic expectations