Comment on my instagram: "Beethoven didn't have a clue what he wanted to write."
That makes me as good as Beethoven. Here's how that sort of makes sense.
See, once you learn Music Theory, you realize that there are no original ideas. At least, that is what my college Music Theory professor told me. It took me a long time to understand, and I'm still learning. Aren't we all ?
You simply plug in values into complex formulas and if something sticks, you work off of it. Don't get me wrong here: inspiration and flow state matter and help greatly. But for the moments when the well of inspiration is dry... it may seem wrong to the average man on the street... but some of my best works (composing music; writing lyrics, poetry, and prose; painting...) much of my work was started by using methods formulas, and skills.
One of my favorite catalysts is the "Auto-correct and Auto-suggest functions on a smart phone. Simply plug in letters or a word, see what is suggested for the rest of the word, or what is suggested for the next word. Eventually, a pattern or a sample of what you are thinking about, whether you're subconscious is doing it or what-have-you, will begin to show. After that, hopefully... the flow state will come around and voila... keep working at it, including editing and re-editing, and hopefully after saving a copy and possibly coming back to it... in short, creating takes time, patience, determination, persistence... real work, and it very rarely goes as expected.
For music, it's a bit of the same. Plug in chords, notes, time signatures, tempo... then see what comes from the process. In one sense, the old saying goes... if at first you don't succeed, try and try again. One of my favorite tracks came from a process known as the matrix. Not the movie. The music started with me plugging in random musical notes, and then randomly selecting variations on that selection. Now what came out of it wasn't genius, but I worked around with chords and other notes until the variation sounded something like a song. Add hours spent plugging away on a drum machine, tweaking and fine tuning.
Then come the lyrics and vocals. Writing harmonies, melodies, and rhythms can be completely planned, but rarely is that the case. I like to start with writing lyrics, taking an instrumental track that I composed before that point, and then improvising a vocal (singing along, doing spoken word, or a bit of both). Edit and re-edit until you collapse and poof... you have a rough draft to edit and re-edit some more at a later date.
The key thing to remember is, change things up as much as possible until you think that you've tried every possible variation. Then, try something new. Then you meetup with the band and/or producer, and change it up again. Time, patience, determination, persistence... real work, and it very rarely goes as expected.
In fact, this blog came as completely unexpected. I simply discovered I had more to say about this beautiful mess. So, I used what I had written, plugged in some variables, and voila... a rough draft to edit and re-edit some more.
In reality, you're only done when you reach a self-inflicted deadline, or a deadline that was set by somebody else. Deadline for my weekly blog reached, and I'm done.
We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams; wandering by lone sea-breakers, and sitting by desolate streams. World losers and world forsakers on whom the pale moon gleams. Yet we are the movers and shakers of the world forever, it seems."