What comes first, the words or the music? As professional songwriters, we get asked that question more than any other.
After thinking about our own songwriting processes as well as researching the processes of renowned songwriters as diverse as Paul McCartney, Dolly Parton and Paul Simon, we've come to realize what an important question this is. The answer is different for each of us and there are almost as many variations of the process as there are individuals. What is your Personal Songwriting Framework? Identifying, clarifying and refining your own unique process, combined with dedication and willingness to keep on practicing, will give you a foundation from which to proceed in an orderly and strategic manner. No more waiting around for the muse to tap you on the shoulder.
Once you've identified your Personal Songwriting Framework, it is much easier to plug in all the skills and tricks of the trade that you have picked up along the way. You can identify story ideas more quickly and shape them into story songs much more efficiently. The process of strategic, mindful songwriting will become second nature.