I owe Nicholas Tozier a thank you for his post Burn Your File of Song Ideas and Start Over (I Dare You).
While I don’t advocate burning old song ideas (and if you read it, you’ll know that what Nicholas is suggesting isn’t as extreme as the title suggests), what this post made me do was actually look through my old song ideas.
And what I found was a scrappy collection of bits and pieces that I’d forgotten about, dumped in folders and notebooks and files on my PC.
Mostly I found lots of terrible lyrics which deserve to be binned, but – and it’s a bit of a big but – one or two were little gems that I had merely mislaid amongst the clutter. Yes, they were unfinished and rough in some cases, but with a little work they could become fully fledged songs.
So, the moral of the story is this: Do keep your old notes and scraps of ideas, but make sure you actually review them from time to time so that you don’t get bogged down in too many unfinished works.
If the idea is awful and should be cast into the doomed depths of the bin, make the call and do it. If it has merit but needs more work, keep hold of it – but don’t let it linger, forgotten and unloved for months or even years.
I haven’t properly cleared out all my song scraps yet, but I’m planning on having a proper clear out and working on the worthy few this weekend. Hopefully, it will be a cleansing and productive process – and I have to say that I’m really looking forward to it, which is great. I’ve been struggling to get excited about songwriting lately and really struggling to get anything finished, so thank you again, Nicholas, for the virtual kick up the bum. I needed it.