Writing by Ayla
- Finish it. Songwriting seems to come in three waves for me: starting the song, the struggle in the middle where you think you should scrap it, and the final product where it usually turns out okay. I think it’s important to push through the hard middle part (a good analogy for life in general, cause there’s usually hard parts you should push through), and get to a finished product – even if you do hate it in the end, at least you proved to yourself that you can finish a song, and you get to feel the success of having a completed product.
- It’s cool to try different approaches. Sometimes I like to make it a bit of a puzzle and approach the song with a hyper-pop lens – trying to keep to a super rigid structure and rhyming pattern. Sometimes I like to do the complete opposite and experiment with a random kind of arrangement/weird additional bars/time signature change or whatever. Sometimes I write on guitar, sometimes to track. It’s good to mix it up and keep it interesting.
- The story. For me, the lyrics are the most import part of songwriting. This varies for different artists, but for me, I like to focus on what the song is saying through the lyrics. If I’m trying to express something, then I’ll put that as a higher priority than sticking to any rigid structure, chord pattern or rhyme scheme – even adding random extra bars to fit in the words that I feel are important to say. It’s great to go back through and refine the completed work, to make sure you’re articulating in the most concise way, while still being descriptive.
- Write a bunch of songs. They say you become a professional after 10,000 hours at your craft. That’s a lot of songs! I like to write when I feel inspired to do it, but sometimes I’ll try to write – pick up the guitar and fiddle around – and just find I’m not in the mood. It’s good to keep going back to it as regularly as you can though, even if it doesn’t turn into a masterpiece, it’s still another step closer to your 10,000 hours, and every line along the way is a learning experience.
- Write from the heart. I remember learning about method acting in high school drama class, a technique where you learn to identify with a character from drawing upon your own similar experiences to convey relevant emotions. I often think about this in songwriting, whether the song is more literal, loosely based on my experiences, or even a completely fictional tale; I think it is very important to be able to connect with the emotion in the song.
Ayla’s single Bitterness is out now.