There is a persistent struggle that all artists and creators share: how to find time to create great work and still have time to earn a living. It really shouldn't be this way, right? We know that part of being human is this gift of art, music and literature that allows us to condense life's beauty and lessons into something that's not only feeding our minds but also our hearts; connecting us to each other and the world in a way that nothing else can. Personally, I think all of us songwriters should get a grocery and gas allowance to cover our writing time but I haven't figured out the details of that yet. Can I go out on a limb and say that there might be a portion of the population out there who spent $300 on a therapy session that might have been better served by attending a concert or spending an hour listening to music? But the bottom line is that, yeah, it's hard to make a living writing songs. And it's hard to write great songs. It's kinda hard to even find time to finish a song at all.
Here's the magic:
Things that happen at a songwriting retreat that don't happen anywhere else:
1. We are removed from constant distractions at home: daily business tasks, household responsibilities and the minutiae that cause us to drop the pen and the guitar or step away from the piano for "just a second" that turns into "ack - I'll come back to this later". We give ourselves the gift of allowing DAYS at a time focused only on writing the damn song. We allow ourselves uninterrupted time to be creative.
2. We are surrounded by like minded creative people that inspire us, support us and kick start our own creativity. We realize we are not alone and this gives us a degree of confidence that's invaluable to creating authentic work.
3. We have close, personal access to successful career writers who share not only the craft of making a great song but also their own personal experience of navigating the business while being true to their own expression. We have class time, but we also have the luxury of sharing meals, stories and ideas.
4. We build the kind of lasting friendship that continue to support our writing and our musical projects, and new connections that can help us continue to push us forward.
5. We write. A lot. Probably more than we'd be able to squeeze into a couple of months at home. We have time to form the habits that increase our capacity to get more writing done when we go back to our regular lives.
Of course, then we go back home and get caught up in the whirlwind again. But we've come home with a new family to consult with, great ideas to continue working on and probably at least a few new songs that finally get to see the light of day. We've given ourselves a rare bump of jet fuel that takes us to the next level on our journey.