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Thread: Songwriting

  1. #1
    Senior Member MrRandom's Avatar
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    Default Songwriting

    INFJs are supposedly excellent writers. I consider it one of my strengths. No matter if the writing is creative, technical, personal... you name it. However, there's one kind of writing I'm having extreme troubles with: songwriting. I've been composing music for a long time, but I've never made a song with lyrics to it. It's something I've been wishing to do for a long time.

    Can you help me realize why is it so difficult for me? Essentially songwriting is not much different from other creative writing. That's the rational approach. However, something is blocking me as soon as I try to get started. I always start to second-guess myself, I become too perfectionistic (nothing's ever good enough), I fear about writing immature clichés, and I suddenly feel like I have nothing to say (although the exact opposite is true!). I feel helpless.

    If I'd be able to write songs, they'd be kind of NiFe stuff. NF stuff. Obviously. The kind of things that I'm thinking about all the time.

    I recently read a funny thing about INFJs: they tend to collect so much extra data, that they can't verbalize what they've learned anymore! I've been in that very position so often, that I burst out laughing when I read that. It's so true. I overdo my data gathering so much that, when suddenly needed, I don't even know where to begin expressing my chaotic mess of newly acquired heaps of arbitrarily related data. I'm not sure if that made any sense, but it made me wonder if I'm having the same problem with songwriting: I have so much to say, that I don't even know where to begin... and I can't stick to only one theme per song... and so on. I just can't get anything onto paper.

    Just for the fun of it, I've done some improvised singing with a friend. We play the piano and sing on top of it any silly stuff that comes into our mind. They are, essentially, songs too... even if they are only silly songs. So, at least this way I'm able to produce lyrics... When I don't even really try! When I'm trying to put conscious effort into an actual, serious song, absolutely nothing happens. It's weird. I suppose it tells me I'm my own worst critic.

    I'd appreciate any comments. You don't have to be a musical person to contribute, as this is just about creative writing. How would you NFs approach songwriting? Other types are welcome to contribute too, of course.

  2. #2
    Senior Member blanclait's Avatar
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    does this mean you can't even write poems?

  3. #3
    Senior Member MrRandom's Avatar
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    I suppose it does.

    Now that you made me think about it, I find it hard to define what is a poem anyhow. I suppose I could put some words together, but it might be such a bad poem that people wouldn't consider it a poem at all? Or am I being too self-critical again? Is it a poem if I simply say it is a poem?

    I think my dominant Ni is working here... trying to understand the defined terms and their limits. I could, of course, from the top of my head write a crappy song that made no sense at all. I'm trying to understand why writing a song with actual thought put into it makes all the difference in my writing attitude (that is, making me unable to do it).

  4. #4
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    Sometimes I write songs... or try anyways and I have to write the lyrics first, as more of a poem. When I try to think of the lyrics and the music at the same time I go into overload and get stuck. I just write my thoughts down, not trying to fit them into any kind of form or anything, and then come up with the melody completely separately. I end up with a bunch of little ideas I like and a bunch of little tunes I like and I take those and fit them together. When I try to come up with it all at once, I always feel like it has to be perfect and I get nowhere.

    Also, just with writing in general i guess, writing a lot helps me get over being 'scared' of writing down what I'm thinking. I took a creative writing class once and the teacher had us carry around a notebook everywhere and write down everything. Just thoughts and little stories, dreams, poems, whatever. It really helped me to not be so intimidated by the blank sheet of paper

  5. #5
    Glycerine
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    I would suggest free-writing and then formulate your ideas into a song. I think Ni users have the tendency to overthink things which leads to writer's block.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Nonsensical's Avatar
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    I can't express anything by physical means- writing poetry, stories, music, or whatever. I can express emotions and feelings, probably, the best way by playing music..but I can't write anything or put words to emotions- which is one of my weeknesses- I have a hard time expressing my emotions in conventional ways..they just pour out in waves of bliss.
    Is it that by its indefiniteness it shadows forth the heartless voids and immensities of the universe, and thus stabs us from behind with the thought of annihilation, when beholding the white depths of the milky way?

  7. #7
    Senior Member blanclait's Avatar
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    don't label, categorize, analyze or try to define anything at all.

    Just write. Don't critique the process until it is absolutely finished.

    this is what i do when i'm designing.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Chris_in_Orbit's Avatar
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    Yup.. Honestly, anything that you create will be awesome.... its all about writing what you want to... Its pretty hard not to critique yourself, but I think its great to put that aside and make a masterpiece.

  9. #9
    Senior Member MrME's Avatar
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    I also write. It's currently a hobby, but I am writing to get published or produced.

    I have never been able to write poetry or song lyrics. I try too hard to make it seem "deep." I fill my poems and lyrics with so many metaphors that in the end it seems strained and convoluted.

    I also compare my stuff to insanely good lyricists like Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, P.J. Harvey, Neko Case, etc. I always fall short, and I should know better by now, heh!

    So, I just stick to fiction.
    INFJ
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  10. #10
    Minister of Propagandhi ajblaise's Avatar
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    It's a lot easier to criticize lyrics than it is to criticize rhythms and melody. Perhaps that is why lyric writing takes a bit more humility to be able to do. I find it to be almost separate from actual music. When lyrics come into the picture, there are words, ideas, stories, feelings... trying to be expressed. And to put that to a beat and often make it rhyme, it can sound a bit contrived.

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