2♣ Two of Clubs in The Rock Songwriter’s Deck: 52 Ways to Write a Song
This week, the Two of Clubs invites you to put yourself under pressure by setting a time limit — maybe just one hour — and writing the best song you can manage to write in that brief period of time.
You'd think this arbitrary limitation would just be a handicap, like running a race while carrying a 20-pound weight. But give it a try! Sometimes forcing yourself to work quickly means that you have to give up all of your complicated ideas about how to write a song.
The bizarre truth is that simpler songs usually are more entertaining, easier to listen to, and more powerful. The real handicap is all of the preconceptions and complications that you bring to the table.
So set a stopwatch or alarm clock with a firm deadline, and force yourself to heed it.
For extra fun, you can stage this as a competition against another songwriter, following the example of TV's Iron Chef. Have a panel of friends give you two songwriters a specific assignment — a title, for example — and exactly one hour to write a song. After the hour is up, each songwriter plays his or her new song for the panel, and the panel picks a winner.
If you go to this trouble, you will certainly sweat! And you will risk the embarrassment of ending the hour with something malformed and incomplete. But you never know, until you try, what brilliance of yours might emerge under pressure. You might emerge victorious, and gain "the people's ovation, and fame forever."