I’ve Never Written a Song – A Confession

drake
"Like a woman on her cycle, D.J. got mad flow"

I’ve been playing guitar for over twenty-five years and have never written a complete song.

Not for lack of trying. I bet I’ve put more than a thousand hours into jamming with myself with the sole intention of writing an actual piece of music with a beginning, middle, and end. It just hasn’t happened. I come up with plenty of riffs, choruses, bridges and outtros – I have dozens (if not hundreds) of these clips recorded and saved onto my computer. You could probably cobble many of them together to compose a decent tune. I just can’t seem to do it myself.

I’m resigning myself to a truth that’s spent over two decades in denial. I’m never going to write a complete song.

Yes, it’s defeatist. Yes, I understand that thinking positively and creating the vision and meditating on it and asking the universe and all that stuff may help. Or maybe not. Probably not.

If I get quiet and honest, this truth surfaces. I’m just not built to do something that I’ve devoted a good chunk of my life working on.

Guitar was not simply a hobby for me. It’s been an obsession. While I didn’t have girlfriends or the most active social life in high school, I could always count on music to be my companion. After the first few years of struggling to play anything resembling an actual composition, I knew I would be playing the rest of my life. And I have been.

What prompted this post was that in the past hour I tried, one again in vain, to write a complete melody. As always, I got about 60% of the way there. The frustration mounted and I had to put the guitar down.

I checked in with my feelings and I asked, “Do I really want to write music?” No answer. I asked again. Nothing.

Then, I started to chuckle as it occurred to me – I’m just not a songwriter. I never have been. I always thought I was supposed to be and it’s the reason I picked up the guitar in the first place. I wanted to write blazing solos like Joe Satriani or sing about the gritty streets like Mike Ness.

When I fantasized about playing in front of an audience, I saw myself as those guys tearing it up on stage. I wanted so badly to be them.

It’s a subtle self-shaming – somehow, me being D.J. isn’t good enough. I needed to write and play like my heroes.

So, I’m putting the guitar away for awhile. I still love the energy and emotion I can draw out of the instrument, but it’s not my calling. I’m never going to progress past my current level. And, when I look inward, I don’t think I’m supposed to.

What am I here to do creatively? The reality is I don’t know. Maybe it’s just to keep writing this blog. Or a book. Maybe put together a few minutes of material and try stand-up. Or write a one-man show.

Or perhaps it’s something else entirely that I haven’t yet discovered.

What I know is that giving up the dream of songwriting actually feels as if a weight had been lifted (please forgive this cliche). It’s a truth I avoided and the constant disappointment was heavy.

Maybe I should devote my life to constructing hardcore rap lyrics and selling them to hip-hop artists. I bet Drake never thought of rhyming “Cadillac” with “fat nut sack.” That’ll be $100, please.

drake
Like a woman on her cycle, D.J. got mad flow!

Read this next!

Join D.J.'s Mailing List!

You're worth it. Give yourself the gift of more ThoughtsFromParis!

Thanks! Check your inbox or spam folder for a welcome message from D.J. - it should be there now!

Something went wrong.