However, there are some conditions attached to this journal writing exercise.
1. It has to be done every day.
2. Set a minimum amount of pages or words to do every day (say, three pages or 1000 words)
3. It doesn’t matter what you write as long as you write the amount of pages and/or words you said you were going to do.
4. Allow your writing to be good, bad or indifferent.
5. Pay attention to your inner voice, maybe write down what its saying.
6. When you have finished just stop and go onto something else.
The way in which this exercise helps you in your battle with your inner voice is that you will eventually break through the walls it puts up in front of your creativity. You will be amazed what your inner voice will say to you as you are writing away.
However, instead of succumbing to the temptation of stopping, keep on going until eventually you’ll free yourself of self doubt and in its place will be a flow of ideas, confidence and inspiration.
I have been keeping journals for years but I haven’t really experienced the real benefit of journals until I read “The Artists Way” by Julia Cameron (a must for any songwriter. If you haven’t got it, GET IT).
In the book she talks about the ‘morning pages’. Three pages of automatic writing first thing in the morning and boy, what a powerful tool that is.
It was that book that allowed me to piece together all the loose ends in my own songwriting endeavors and therefore, I am basing this journal writing exercise on the morning pages concept.
I can’t stress to you enough, it must be done everyday. You need to make time for it. It’s a great investment in to your songwriting process.
By doing this everyday and defining a productivity target you will set up the discipline you need in being a prolific songwriter.
By allowing what you write to be good, bad or indifferent will stop you assuming that everything you write has to be perfect and, by paying attention to the noises in your head it will help you recognize your inner voice for what it really is, a never ending source of negativity.
So, whats next? Well, here’s a songwriting exercise for you.
Start writing in your journal for one week. That’s seven days of putting down your thoughts, feelings, hopes, dreams, fears, aspirations, inner conversations (you name it, put it down) and see how you feel from doing that.
I reckon you will feel like a weight has been lifted off of your shoulders.
By the end of the seven days I can guarantee you won’t have so much stuff flying around inside your head because it will all be down on paper and who knows, there maybe some songs in there too.
We’ll get to what happens next later.