This week, while in a rehearsal, I made the comment that we’d need to, “Go back to the woodshed” for a particular song. “What is that?” the drummer asked. He’s easily as bright as most drummers (just a playful dig), but he had never heard of “woodshedding.” It’s been front of mind for me ever since.
Woodshedding is really just about putting in the time to work things out. Practicing. Paying your dues. Experimenting. Connecting dots.
With the recent focus on songwriting and empowering songwriters through the Reimagined Songs Project, I’ve been thinking about a common phenomenon for me. Here’s how I’d describe it:
- I get inspired.
- I write something. Maybe it’s a good chunk of a song. Maybe it’s just a hook or a progression, or a title. As it stands though, it’s not something usable in the wider world yet.
- It sits.
Sometimes a song will simply pop out. 45 minutes and there’s a new song in your hands. That’s not the norm. Almost always (and I think this is actually a good thing), the songwriting process lasts beyond the arc of the excited inspiration. That’s when a little woodshedding is required.
It can feel discouraging when you’re in that dip. Like it was all flowing so well and then someone turned off the faucet. Don’t worry. You didn’t lose your mojo. The rest of the song doesn’t have to be heartless and cold. In fact, a lot of times I find that when I can step beyond the eager emotion of writing and into a thoughtful and calm space (often with a little curiosity), I have the biggest breakthroughs and the song simply comes.
So schedule a little time to take one of those partial songs out to the woodshed. The song will be the reason for doing so, but your songwriting will likely be the biggest thing impacted.