The Gift Of Song
Posted by Francesca de Valence on Thursday, January 23, 2020
I am writing to you from New Orleans, Day 1 of Folk Alliance International. I'm here to play my songs and help others write songs that will shape their career.
Wherever you are in the world, I think it’s fair to say that every single one of us has been affected in some way by the bush fire crisis in Australia. Definitely not the way that we would have wanted to start a new year, a new decade and one with such an auspicious visionary number.
We all know people who have been fighting fires, who have had to collect their lifelong possessions and leave their homes behind, even some people who have lost everything. There are people who have been giving aid to others, donating to causes, and those in areas not so affected coming together and holding benefit concerts, writing and sharing songs of hope.
In these times of crisis, more than ever, there is a palpable need for our musical talents and songs to be shared with others to offer comfort, hope, love, connection. As songwriters, we have been given a gift of music and story and it’s ours to give.
Somewhere along the way we got so caught up in thinking that this gift had to be “good” before it could be shared. I’d love to see us come back to a place where we can simply share our songs, our gifts, our messages, to be able to connect with others from wherever we are right now.
And of course, the more you do that, the more that your gift blossoms into something even more special and unique. For some songwriters, tapping into that gift might simply look like writing songs and sharing them with local community.
So whilst the year may not have started out with the clarity and the space that we may have hoped for, it’s never too late to set your intention and goals for 2020.
So take a moment. Close your eyes, put your hand on your heart. What do you really desire for your songwriting journey in 2020? What have you not been fully showing up to? How do you want to connect with your musical gifts going forward?
The people that I have spoken to so far this year, they really want to stop struggling to write songs. Is this you too? Do you want to be able to create with ease and a sense of openness and freedom? And then share those songs with others with this same sense of freedom?
I used to think that by having a new year’s resolution that would be enough to make big changes in my life, to be living the life that I really wanted, my wildest creative dreams. But after 20 years of failed resolutions, I realised that wasn’t enough. I needed a plan that was based around simple next-step actions to achieve my goal.
So I want to share with you a simple 3-step plan to creative freedom so that you can have this for yourself in 2020 – the freedom to create and share your gifts from wherever you are right now.
Last week, I played some of my original songs on my dream stage in New York City - the Bitter End.
1. Schedule time to write every week
I know what your schedule looks like. It looks like mine. Completely filled to the brim. Except, my schedule includes time to write a song. Does yours?
Your week will be absolutely filled up to the brim with other things to do if you don’t put songwriting on your schedule then you’ll get to the end of the year and realise that you’ve hardly created anything. Trust me, I’ve been there many times - at the end of the year with all the excuses for not having written songs.
So simply schedule 1 hour in your calendar. When that hour arrives, turn off your computer – those emails will be there when you return, ignore the washing that needs to be done – it, too, will be there when you return, put your phone in airplane mode – no one really needs you in this hour, and just write a song.
And you might struggle to do this but just find a way to do it.
2. Detach From the Outcome
Once they get past the excuse of a “lack of time” that they give themselves for not writing, songwriters tell me that the reason they don’t write songs regularly is that they don’t think they can write “good” songs every week.
And it’s true. You probably won’t and can’t. But it’s still USEFUL to write a song every week.
From my songwriting practice of writing over 350 songs in just the past 5 years, and from helping 650 songwriters around the world write over 8000 songs, I can confidently say that 1 or 2 out of every 10 songs you write will be “good”. The rest are just practice.
So just create without any attachment to the outcome. It doesn’t have to be a song you can record, perform or use in anyway, but just create and finish a song – every week.
That is a practice that is useful.
3. Share Your Creations
When you’re creating songs at home alone and not sharing them with anyone, you’re missing out on an opportunity to get feedback on these songs and to let them connect with others.
I remember 5 years ago I was so creatively stuck. I would be writing songs at my piano in my house judging every single idea, showing no one. Nothing was good enough.
But when I started sharing my new song creations with my songwriting peers in a little online club I started called I Heart Songwriting Club, everything changed.
I started to see my work in different ways. And when I could be a part of that process for my peers, I began to feel less alone, and more understood.
5 years later, I have never felt so creative free to write and share and truly just be who I am. And other people in I Heart Songwriting Club who have been doing the same as me, writing songs every week, not attaching to the outcomes and sharing them with their peers in the club, say the same thing.
Two weeks ago, my songs and my story was featured on Radio France International, in Paris. But was broadcast on radio all over the world.
From where you stand right now, where you want to get to might feel so far away, so hard to achieve, how can I possibly get there?
Well the answer is you can, and you’re going to get there by just taking one step at a time.
If you take one step at a time consistently for the next 3 months, you’re going to have 12 new and finished songs. Some of those are going to be songs you’re going to want to perform, to record, you’re going to feel so much more connected to your songwriting than ever before and feel so much more confident.
Now, imagine doing that for 12 months!! You’ll have 52 songs. At least 10 of those will be songs you’ll love. What an amazing and simple way to write an album, and have shared all those songs with others to know which really connect.
What if 2020 was the year you really decided to go for it and become the songwriter you’ve always wanted to be? To be the songwriter who is making the most of their gift?
And it’s not nearly as hard as you think it is. Just take it one step at a time.
I created I Heart Songwriting Club for songwriters just like you and me. We are an online community available for anyone in the world and there is something for every songwriter. Check it out.
And if you are nervous about getting stuck into your songwriting and you need more support and guidance to get started, register for a FREE SPOT at my next Songwriting Webinar. I'm sharing these on my Facebook page, so follow me there.
So what are you doing to make your dreams a reality? See you in the club, the courses or in my webinar. There is something for everyone.
Here's to living your wildest creative dreams,
P.S. Listen to my Radio France International interview here.