Maybe you just finished an album and are making plans to write the next one. Or, you may have put out a couple of singles and are itching to create something more substantial, like an EP or full-length album. It’s not realistic to start planning exactly how each of your songs will sound like before they’re written, but coming into your next project with a clear musical vision is something that can be helpful and inspiring.
Creating freely vs writing with a vision
There are no wrong or right ways to create music, and approaching the writing process with a clear vision is just one way of going about it. Creating freely means writing without any strict goals, plans, or guidelines. You simply engage in the writing process and see what happens.
Creating with a vision requires defining broad ideas about how you want to write and what you’d like your music to sound like before you start writing. Think of this method for creating as a jumping-off point rather than an end point. If your project doesn’t end up sounding like your original vision, that’s completely fine because this way of creating is about inspiration and guidance, not following a rigid set of rules.
Benefits of writing music with a vision in mind
Coming into the writing process with a clear vision can be massively helpful. When you find yourself unsure of how to write and what to create, your vision will lead you in the right direction. A strong vision will guide you in every aspect of your songwriting, whether it’s coming up with a lyrical narrative, chord progression, song structure, or instrument selection.
How to create a vision for your next musical project
How detailed the vision you create for your next project is up to you. It can be something as vague as “I want my album to sound like _______ and be about ________.” Or, it can be excruciatingly detailed down to things like production choices, instrumentation, lyrical themes, and the specific songs and styles you seek for inspiration. The more thorough you get with your vision, the more of a concise direction you’ll have when you write. But whether you go broad or granular for your vision, give yourself permission to stray from it when you need to. You’ll get the most out of creating with this method if you use your vision when you need to, and give yourself permission to ignore it and follow ideas wherever they lead you. The final product might sound completely different than what you originally envisioned, or it could be something close to the broad concept you originally conceived. It’s completely up to you, and there isn’t a wrong or right way to go as long as you’re working authentically.
If you want to try the vision method for writing but aren’t sure if it will work for something as important as your next album, try it for a song and see how it goes. You might discover that it’s something that helps your process in a big way.
Morgan Housel - July 26, 2022
Coming up with an amazing idea only to never be able to transform it into a completed song is a scenario every songwriter can relate to. By the way, your ideas are awesome