Most people who dispense advice about songwriting—about any kind of writing, really—tell you to silence your inner critic while you create your first draft. Early criticism paralyzes you, they say. Get something down first. Edit later.
I don't work that way. I can't work that way. The Editor will not be repressed.
To be honest, I don't mind so much. It used to annoy me that I wrote more slowly than everyone else, but now I'm just thankful that the Editor exists. If I try out a terrible line, it jumps in to tell me how bad it is, keeping me from running down a dead end. If I I think up something innovative, something that expresses my idea perfectly, I hear it crow Yes! Bravo!
The Editor's nemesis is adequacy.
See, not every syllable can be brilliant. Sometimes you really do just need filler, a few words to get you from point A to point B. Don't get me wrong—even those words need to be held to a certain standard. My Editor will still protect me from producing work that isn't good enough. It only becomes confused when I present it with something that's ... good enough.
It rhymes, the Editor muses. It feels good to sing and listen to. It expresses the basic idea we're trying to get across. But is this really the best we can do?
That's where I stand with my latest. I've filled in all the blanks. I could sing it in public, and people wouldn't point and laugh. But there are one or two spots where I wonder, is this good, or just good enough?
I can't decide whether to declare it finished.