Lately I've been thinking a lot about the value of experiences.
A few years ago, I discovered the idea of "minimalism" and went through a little Marie Kondo phase, throwing out LOTS of crap I didn't need or didn't use. And surprisingly, I never even missed (or noticed) 99% of the stuff I got rid of.
I'm not an extreme minimalist by any means, (I LOVE a good christmas gift!), but over the last few years I've started to value experiences over possessions. I've spent less time making shopping lists and more time making plans for date nights, vacations, and new experiences.
I think experiences are especially valuable for songwriters and creatives because experiences are where we draw our inspiration from. Experiencing new places, new people, and new ideas can help us see things differently and spark fresh ideas.
I think when a lot of us think about the word "experiences," we think of instagram-able tropical beach vacations or glamorous selfies with the Eiffel Tower. But an experience can be anything - a new favorite song, a book, a new restaurant in town.
So if you're finding yourself in a creative rut, try out one of these ideas:
1. Listen to new music
Whenever I go long amounts of time without songwriting, I've found that it's during a period when I'm not actively listening to new music. New artists and styles of music help inspire our own music, even if our music is completely different than what we're listening to!
2. Experience new stories
Stories can come in many forms: a book, a movie, a TED talk, even a facebook status. Empathy is such a powerful emotion and seeing things through another person's perspective can be a great catalyst for new ideas.
3. Meet new people
Go out and talk to strangers, find new friends, or start a new relationship! Our relationships really shape the way we think about the world and our songwriting is a reflection of that.
Plus, how many songs are about relationships (romantic, family, friends)? Hint: most of them.
4. Go somewhere new
If you can afford it, take a vacation to a different city, state, or even country! If you can't, have a night off in your own city exploring new venues, restaurants. Be a tourist of your own city!
Ever notice when you're on vacation in a different city (or even country!), it's so easy to turn off the serious "work" version of yourself and turn on the "fun" version? For me, vacations are almost more about that attitude shift than the actual location itself!
So go experience new things and see how it changes the way you write. Let your songwriting evolve as you do. :)
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