Quotes That Helped Me (Songwriting Edition) – Part 3

I had intended to post a different blog today. I’ve been working on a companion to my folklore post – for sister album, evermore – and had hoped to post it today for the one year anniversary of it’s release but I’ve been so unwell over the last month – the side effects of my new ADHD medication have been brutal – that I just haven’t been able to finish it. I have a good chunk of it done so I’d like to finish and post it at some point but I guess we’ll see. I still wanted to post though and this is what I had finished. So I hope you enjoy these quotes (here’s part one and two, if you’re interested) and hopefully writing will start to feel easier soon.


“A painting is never finished – it simply stops in interesting places.” – Paul Gardner

“You wind up creating from silence, like painting a picture on a blank canvas that could bring tears to somebody’s eyes. As songwriters, our blank canvas is silence.” – Rodney Atkins

“Hearing about a visual artist’s approach can change the way you think about songwriting.” – St. Lucia

“When you don’t write songs for a while there’s a fear you won’t be able to do it again.” – Tim Wheeler

“Write until you can’t write anymore.” – Billie Myers

“If you’ve got a really strong concept, then it’s easy to write. Whereas if you’re not sure what the true story is, it’s bloody hard.” – Shelly Poole

“Often the simplest song is the hardest to write.” – Patti Smith

“All of my acoustic playing came from my songwriting. All of the chords I’ve learned and all of the voicings I play them in are a direct result of composing.” – Mat Kearney

“I don’t think about commercial concerns when I first come up with something. When I sit down at the piano, I try to come up with something that moves me.” – Lamont Dozier

“My task as an artist is to stay as close as I can to my own essence.” – Trixie Whitley

“A song is an ever-changing, ever-evolving and morphing thing.” – Simon Tong

“My songwriting has evolved, just as I’ve evolved as a person.” – John Oates

“I write about what I know and what I’ve experienced. That’s the only way it can be real to me. I love songwriting. There is something so satisfying in coming up with an idea and turning it into a song that means something to people…” – Aaron Tippin

“Songwriting is such an intricate part of me as an artist and as a person; I couldn’t just let someone else do it.” – Shakira

“It doesn’t stop. It really doesn’t stop. It’s the way I live every single day. I don’t do anything else. I have no other interest other than music. At all.” – Steven Morrissey

“No one can attack you when you’re songwriting; it’s you and a song, which is a great place to be.” – Gin Wigmore

“People haven’t always been there for me but music always has.” – Taylor Swift

“Songwriting is a great release. It helps me work through things.” – Jo Dee Messina

“I’ve always used songwriting as a way to help me organise reality.” – Jason Mraz

“You need to work at the craft of songwriting, but not only the craft. When I see people working both on themselves and the craft, and they combine those things… I just go, ‘That’s just fabulous.'” – Fred Eaglesmith

“Music is energy, emotion, expression, escapism, enlightenment. Music is so much more than just entertainment.” – Rasheed Ogunlaru

“I write a song because I want to. I think the moment you start writing it to make money, you’re starting to kill yourself artistically.” – Pete Seeger

“Something good happened to my writing when I stopped being afraid to do something simple, for the fear that people might think I couldn’t do something more complex. Don’t be confused by the word simple. Simple is not easy, it is clear voiced, and fearlessly elegant.” – Carrie Newcomer

“I always saw songwriting as the top of the heap. No matter what else you were going to do creatively – and there were a lot of choices – writing songs was king.” – Jakob Dylan

“Every musician out there wants to be judged on the merit of their songwriting, the merit of their performing abilities.” – Laura Jane Grace

“Nothing can stop a great song, so just keep songwriting.” – Manika

“Songwriting is the way of perpetual want. Songwriters are the blessed/cursed people. You will never have a moment’s peace in your life. You will always be wanting the next song.” – Jon Stewart

“Closed in a room, my imagination becomes the universe, and the rest of the world is missing out.” – Criss Jami

“You’re never quite sure where the song is going, because you might not find the word to rhyme with the end of the line. You have to find associative meaning to get you there. So it’s rather like doing a crossword puzzle backwards. A kind of strange, three-dimensional, abstract crossword puzzle.” – Annie Lennox

“Creativity is the greatest rebellion in existence.” – Osho


I hope these have been inspiring and thought-provoking. I’m always looking for more quotes so if you have any that you love, about anything, please stick them in the comments!

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