This is going to seem pretty counterintuitive but should connect with you more as you read. You may hear me coming from several similar angles to drive the point home. My goal is always that you are able to take something away from these posts & put the ideas into practice right away. I’m going to try to share reasons why you should abandon your original song idea when new inspiration comes.
The issue that we have is that we start with an idea in our head and we become really laser focused on trying to get that one idea down completely as it was in our head. This can lead to a lot of frustration, and it’s usually so streamlined that we don’t leave room for other creative ideas to come in.
Because of this, we’re not really using our creative brain at the time. That doesn’t mean that you’re starting idea is not any good. It usually is fine, but it doesn’t translate exactly the way it is in our head.
Most of the time we struggle to translate our original idea into our DAW. Then we get frustrated and end up abandoning the song altogether. So in this case, it’s better to abandon the initial idea instead of abandoning the song.
When you get too married to an idea, it actually closes off your creative mind. Usually the idea that inspires you came from another song, sound or riff that inspired you. Obviously, all of our ideas come from different sources, but when we’re in the process of working through an idea that came into our head, we’re usually taking an idea that’s a direct derivative of something else.
If we let ourselves abandon that idea & allow experimentation, we can allow new influences to come in. This will make your idea more unique because you’re reacting to what you are hearing in realtime & paying attention to little accidental sounds & interesting ideas you might have never considered.
Now the thing is, when you’re focused 100% on an idea in your head, you kind of put the blinders on to every other possibility and it makes you less creative when you have that sort of laser minded focus.
Sometimes you can get so lost in sound design, trying to get this exact sound that’s in your head, that by the time you get something that’s somewhat close, you ended up losing the initial inspiration and idea.
Sometimes you can even get the flow of the idea, the notes of the idea and you can almost get the sound of the idea, but there’s still something missing that you’re not noticing. This is why ideas can sound great in your head but it’s just not translating the way you would have hoped. It just doesn’t seem to have the impact that you expected, which can be pretty disappointing.
I often suggest to my students that they keep an audio track recording of all their ideas while they’re in the process of trying to design sounds. When you listen back, you can pull really great ideas that you would have missed because you were focused on something else. When you go back and listen to all the sounds in between, you discover that you have some amazing ideas that are really usable.
When you don’t allow the song to progress the way that it’s flowing & the way that it wants to go, you’re really closing off a lot of opportunities to have some great surprises in your song.
Finally, when your idea gets sparked, you’re going to find yourself forcing the idea and forcing your creativity. It’s not about force. It’s not about making something work when it doesn’t. It’s about allowing the ideas that work to come in, and letting go of the ideas that don’t work.
So if you’ve got an idea in your head and the idea is not coming out the way that you had hoped, let go of the idea and allow something new to come. Let yourself be inspired during your process and see how that helps your productivity.