To Write, To Produce, To Sing: Inside The Art Mind

Someone told me that writing music isn’t as difficult as writing fiction and nonfiction. I do not believe the processes are as different as they look to the casual observer. When producing a song, you need a beat. You need several different vocal lines. You’re often playing the same vocal line over and over, mulling over the slightest imperfection. When you finally have all the parts in place, something is not going to sound the right way.

After the production is recorded, maybe you decide that the song sounds better in a different key. Maybe, you recorded it in E-flat minor and it needs to be in A-flat major. After six minutes of hearing it, you’re sure the change matters enough.

You’re the performer and you want it your way. Perhaps, you should speed something up. When the lyrics are finally written in, they have to balance the song’s feel and production adequately. It finally seems to sound like what you want. But you’ve been awake for 14 hours and you need to sleep.You hope to yourself that the several tracks you’ve played with are on par with the content creators in your profession. The fear is that you’ll decide that all but one (of your 25 songs) is good enough for the album. That one mistake will breed an obsession.

If all this goes decently, there is the HELL of choosing the appropriate single. After all, this is your “they don’t know me yet” song. That’s considerably worse than the “I haven’t recorded in a while” song.
It is a surreal, therapeutic experience to create from the heart, to build with the mind, to compose from our inner selves. Writing is just that freaking hard, too.

Writing takes several early drafts, sentence changes, paragraph deletions, word substitutions, and peer reviews. There are times when the writer experiences depression from crafting words. He or she is tempted to give up because after six hours, just twelve words were written.

And yet a writer at heart cannot stop writing. The art of rhetoric and language is an addiction. You worry about pleasing your editor, if you have one. You, like a musician, are always “marketing yourself”.
Writing is at once the greatest pleasure and the harshest defeat. The rejected stories and vitriolic criticisms levied at writers for their pursuit is inconvenient truth.

Writing is that same haphazard rollercoaster of trial and error that a musician rides. The delivery method just changes form. An idea forms from a single line of text. And that line of text never alerts the writer about when or why. The “voice” only starts talking and you–the writer—–must let it come. The purpose for a text is not always readily available. Often, the value of a poem, an essay, or a reading takes focus after an experiment is over.

Simply put… the ceiling appears before the foundation is secure.

Well into two decades of writing, I must accept constant ridicule by all who fail at grasping that I did not choose writing. Writing chose me. Writing is the song in my life that is caught in pre-production. Writing is the deep well that cements my complicated existence. Writing is the insect that weaves my identity far beyond Louisiana.

It is the glue of poems, pain, progress, and passions. I can’t quit it like a singer cannot stop singing. The musician and writer know the pain of refusal. They know the details of the creative path they chose. And it takes faith, persistence and position to continue making art while understanding that ART —-music, poetry, writing, or drama—is still creative currency.

So dream forward…because ART matters when something you sang, performed, or wrote changed the life of ONE hopeless, destitute person.

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