On Songwriting

Writing a song is unlike any other writing that I have experienced. To me, songwriting is like letting all your emotions out in measures. It puts a tune to your feelings, a melody to your troubles. It’s how I get my problems out.
Although your first songs may not be good, they tend to get better, and better, and better, until finally, one day you wake up and write a scribble down. Then that scribble turns into a song, and then a really good song and then voila… you have a Grammy! Now don’t misunderstand, this hasn’t happened to me yet, but I expect it to. If you can play an instrument, make sure you know enough chords or notes to play a melody. If you use your voice and you have no method to write it down with, there is really no point. If you have no access to an instrument, then get creative! It may not be as effective, but it will keep you going for a while until you can either get access or learn. Plus, songwriting is just like poetry or normal writing in some aspects. If you wake up suddenly from a really interesting dream in the middle of the night, write it down. You might think, oh, it was a scary dream, I won’t be writing a song about that anyways. Write it down. Remember Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”. I don’t want to get into how he got that idea, but you get my point. Maybe it came from a scary dream! Continuing on…
After a few days, your song may not seem as good as it did before… DO NOT THROW IT AWAY! Although it may not be good in that specific moment, if it was good when you wrote it, it will be good again. Don’t worry. And if you look at it every day for the next month and go gee I really really really don’t like that song, well, then I  give you permission. But until then, don’t throw anything away!

Elena Dreisbach


Categories: Essays / Personal Narratives


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