the blank page can be an awesome enemy. but so easily conquered, when you think about it. write something, anything. instantaneous victory, the enemy annihilated.
people don't write because they think they don't know how: a writer is someone who holds a secret, some magical knowledge.
but you know what a writer is? someone who writes.
i've named this blog "followthatsong" because it's catchy and attaches a visual image that anyone can identify with. but it also sums up the way i write, when i write well. when i write badly, it's because i'm forcing it for one reason or another, trying to make it happen. when i write well, it flows out of me and it's all i can do to keep up with the tide of images and melody.
Bob Dylan says that creativity is experience, observation and inspiration. i would add "emotion" to the list, but otherwise it's a pretty sound summation.
experience: you don't have to have experienced first hand the thing that you are writing about,
but the richer your life, the more likely you are to have a feel for complexity and multiformity. so, instead of staring at a blank page, wishing you could write, why not go out and do something?
observation: and when you go out, don't look at the sidewalk thinking your deep inner thoughts and wish you could write something. watch people, animals, things, landscapes, colours. listen to speech, the wind, the waves, birds, leaves. feel rain on your forehead, the boardwalk under your feet. taste the salt on your lips. smell the air in the woods.
inspiration: and when you observe, be inspired. by folks with passion, beautiful things, humorous happenings. trigger memories, feelings, write down snippets of thought. walk to the rhythm of a phrase. give it a melody.
that is how i write a song. when i get home, i pick up the guitar, put chords to the nub of melody, and it grows from there. i don't plan the structure, but i know it will come. the structure fits the song, not the other way 'round.
and at magical times, the images and music come so fast i feel like hailing a cab and yelling "followthatsong!"