This Sunday, I'm going to be playing an all-originals set for singer/songwriter night at The Outer Space. I'm the show opener, and will be setting the tone for the whole night. I love to play originals, and yet there is a thread of trepidation. I always wonder if the audience will connect with any of my songs. It goes back to the writing, I think. For me, songwriting is a painstaking process. Some songs are easier than others to write, but each song needs to be coaxed and cajoled out into the open, and finding that conduit is the tricky part. Ideas do not come as quickly as they once did. What could I possibly say that hasn't already been said? The truth is, there's nothing new. With the billions of songs out there, spanning continents and time, everything has already been said...or sung. How the idea is expressed makes it unique. What personal inflection and individual story do I bring to it?
The ultimate test is whether the song strikes a chord in the hearts of others. A very tall order, but nonetheless the goal of each and every song I write. Hence, the fear and perfectionism that most likely hinders my progress. This creates a vicious circle of procrastination and avoidance, which is the opposite of what's necessary. In order to really succeed, I need to push myself to write more, not less.
So, in preparing my all-original set for Sunday, I think of the songs of mine that may have the most impact or universal appeal. I put my words and ideas out there, hoping they will be received and accepted, hoping that my voice and guitar offer the perfect delivery, and praying that they make a connection.