On Writing Drunk


No, not literally.

There’s a quote, most often attributed to Hemingway (though no one can find where he said it):


Most artists I know are great at editing.

Sometimes they’re too good and perfectionism puts them into a state of paralysis. Writing a song a day, even for a month, can help unlock the potential of “writing drunk”. That is to say: writing loose. Not caring about what comes out. Creating like a child, with total abandon. As soon as something occurs to you, just do that.

This way of creating has always come naturally to me. From the moment I started writing songs at 12 years old, something inside me just had this crazy urge to write as many as I could. But I’ve really struggled with editing. I think that’s a much harder skill to learn. The ability to think deeply about a song and find the best lyrics, the most interesting chord changes, the production choices that fit just right; if you can do these things, you have a true gift. Don’t discount it.

But, I hope in this month of Song A Day you’ll add a new songwriting tool to your toolbox.

The time for writing drunk is now (and the next 30 days). You’ll have plenty of material to edit sober later.

Jonathan MannComment