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  • Joe Dolman

Sore Subject.

I don’t think there’s any better feeling for a songwriter than knowing you have a song. The spring in your step when you are walking down the street listening to a voice memo/monitor mix/master of what feels like your best work yet, could make you stride from planet to planet. It’s unrivalled.

I don’t think that this feeling comes from being vein though, and that we feel invincible because we wrote a song we love; I think that feeling of pride actually roots in the understanding of knowing exactly what it feels like to have failed over and over again to achieve what we were aiming for when writing something, and that positivity is actually more a feeling of relief. The scale is forever sliding… some say it takes 7 bad songs to write a good one, some say it’s 20 and so on. Some are too proud to admit that they ever do less than their best. For me, I think I’ll write 6-10 song/song ideas before I land on something I really think is what I was aiming for, but that’s forever changing too. Sometimes you can be on a roll with writing, but i’d be lying if I said I was consistent 100% of the time; I’m far from it!

However I think if you never do less than your best, how do you know what your best is?

I find it difficult to articulate where I’m at with developing my own writing and it never gets easier to explain. I’m no expert but in my opinion; songwriting does not get easier if your songs are getting better. Now this is a tricky one to explain because at the end of the day, songwriting and the quality of a song will forever be subjective. Of course you pick up tools & tricks along the way that help you write whether that’s ideas about song structures, chord patterns or different grooves/rhythms. Maybe it’s that you have methods that help you get out of your own head when thinking of lyrics.

From my own experience, I often get in my own way when writing lyrics and overthink them which makes me lose track of what I was trying to get across in the song, however sometimes that can be a necessary venture to figure out what you really wanted to say the whole time. It’s complicated, right? Different every time and different for everyone. My point is even with experience; digging deep to write something with meaning can always be challenging, and it shouldn’t ever be surprising or disheartening when it is.

(note to self: read your own words and don’t be so hard on yourself!)

Why am I talking about this?

We’re in month 6 of a pandemic. At the start of lockdown in the UK, I was already feeling in a tough spot; the first few months of the year were pretty hard going in both my career and personal life with health issues of mine as well as losing close family members amongst everything else going on. I was feeling really up against things and I had no inspiration to write or create for the first 2 or 3 months of lockdown. I was being so hard on myself for not being productive and that was only making matters worse, I felt that I was completely in my own way and hated that the only thing stopping me be creative was in fact myself.

It can be a sore subject to talk about the battles you lose/lost, and the times you felt you could have been better in something. One of my favourite parts of writing this blog is feeling I can talk about all aspects of my music and the things that contribute towards it, both positive & negative. I think it’s important to be aware of all things that impact your way of thinking so you can understand why things are the way they are, and for me why I might be more productive at times than others.

We’re nearly at the end of 2020 which is feels unreal and despite a shaky start, i’m feeling more excited about the music i’m making than ever before. Not just my own artist music, or my other artist project (erm…what?) but also the music i’m making for & with other artists/bands/projects.

I really mean this; when I look back at this year to try figure out what that turning point was for me to help me get back on track, it was you. Starting up Patreon gave me the big kick to be productive that I extremely needed and it’s really important you are reminded of how much you are appreciated because I am forever grateful for your support. I’m still figuring out my next moves (and covid-19 isn’t helping matters) but I’m feeling excited and when the music is completely finished, you’ll be the first to hear it.



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© 2017 by JOE DOLMAN