Goal Oriented Writing

Many times, especially if we are feeling kind of blocked, having a goal can help. Especially if the goal is an external one. Here are a few stories of mine to hopefully get you thinking about how you can utilize this as well. Also, I know @jamie knows this as well, he had to write a short song with many parameters set by his friend at a radio station.

To My Friends With Daughters
I was approached by an older friend whose daughter was getting married in a few months. He asked that I write a song for him and his daughter to dance to at the wedding. He wanted it to be about her growing up and how proud he was of her and how much he loved her. He also wanted it to be fairly long so that the dance could last longer. He wanted it slow, but not sad (he was more confident in slow dancing). He wanted it simple. I took all those instructions and wrote this song. Having that goal in mind (subject matter, parameters, and deadline) all helped to form a song that is very much unlike most of my other songs.

Racquetballs And Moonbeams

This one was written for the City I live in. I am the poet laureate for the town, and they asked that I write a song to commemorate the unveiling of a mural on the racquetball/rec center wall. I got to work with the artist to understand the nuance of his paintings. I only had a week to write it, learn it, and perform it at the unveiling. The mural was space themed and focused on the Apollo missions.

Reflection of Hope

This one was written for the celebration of the anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission. The same type of thing from the song above. But, they wanted it to be a little more upbeat and sincere. The City wanted it to show how far space exploration has come in that time and talk about going back to the moon. Again, I had about a week to complete it.

Those are just three examples where having a specific goal in mind helped write a song that I would not have written otherwise. It is not my favorite thing because I like to focus on words and get everything just right. These songs could certainly be much better, but I enjoyed writing them. Due to deadlines and topic restrictions, the songs were just rapidly finished and went on their way. And just completing these songs kind of inspired me to write other ones. Do you have any examples of where you have written to a goal? How did it impact you? If you haven’t, you should try it sometime. Talk to a friend and have them give you a challenge to complete. It is worth trying as an exercise.

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