Still, I think I'd find myself at a disadvantage if I had to write my stuff on commission and on deadline.
Last night I spent some time looking through lyrics and checking them for errors. By errors I don't mean typos, but inaccuracies. Lines I don't sing the same way anymore because they changed over time without my noticing.
For instance, scanning a love song I wrote a couple years ago, I came across the following:
Put down your battle plans, put down your ammunitionNow it goes:
They will still be with you
At the coming of the dawn
Put down your battle plans, put down your ammunitionHaving to sing my songs over and over again forces me to be aware of how they actually sound. It pushes me to make them better.
They will be here waiting
At the coming of the dawn
I wonder how that love song would look now if I'd needed to immediately hand it off to somebody else. I wonder if I would have thought to change the line in time.
Why would you have to write on commission and deadline? You have years worth of songs if you decided to sell them.
Sure, but not every song gets sold, and if you're successful you might be asked to write a certain kind of song that isn't already in your catalog. Eventually you have to start creating on the fly.
But you don't have to do anything. You can explain that your creative process makes it difficult for you to write songs on commission. What you are doing is using something you aren't being asked to do as a reason not to do something which is being suggested as a good idea.
On a possibly related subject, I think that both versions of your lyric are terrific, and I'm wondering why you felt impelled to switch.
Perhaps you are afraid to sell your lyrics because you want them to be perfect before they leave. But perfection is only for God (Iranian rug makers deliberately drop a stitch in every Persian rug for this very reason), and waiting for perfection is an excuse for doing nothing.
Part of the artistic experience is putting yourself out there. And don't worry: whoever buys your lyrics will probably tailor them for themselves anyway.
I just had another thought. It would be a real challenge to write something for commission with a deadline and a theme not of your own choosing. Perhaps you would fail at it; no disgrace in that.
But not trying is something altogether different, isn't it? Didn't it take you years to get up the courage to do what you are doing now? Why would this be any different? You could explain ahead of time that you have never done anything like this before, that it usually takes you a long time to get a song out, and that you are willing to try as long as your client is willing to accept the chance that you will fail.
Then record the song on some sort of crude recording device to show your client how you deliver it, and then let it go.
You can explain that your creative process makes it difficult for you to write songs on commission.
Good idea. They'll never just find another songwriter who works the way they want them to. :)
What you are doing is using something you aren't being asked to do as a reason not to do something which is being suggested as a good idea.
Nah. I have no objection to shopping out some songs I've already written. Noticing how my lyrics have evolved slowly just brought to mind another difficulty of writing for hire.
It would be a real challenge to write something for commission with a deadline and a theme not of your own choosing.
If anyone should offer to pay me for such a thing, I'll give it a go. :) (Anyone? Anyone?)
Susan, if you can't or don't want to write on commission, don't do it. But if you have no objection to shopping out songs already written, then why don't you try it?
I'm pretty sure this entails more than simply being willing to sell if you happen upon someone who wants to buy. You have to go out and sell those songs. Having said this, I have no idea how that is done, but I'll bet you either know how or know people who know how.
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