A friend recently posted a fascinating article called “Untamed Melody,” written by musician and songwriter Andrew Bird about his writing process. In case you’re too lazy to read the article (really, though, read it!–it’s good!), I’ll sum it up for you: from an early age Mr. Bird has lived his life with melodies. Melodies with his cereal, on the way to school, while brushing his teeth. At any given time he has several melodies filed away in his brain, which he then takes out and tinkers with until he feels they are ready. He then marries words to melody by verbalizing nonsense until “something true” slips into the babble. He teases words from his subconscious mind to “settle into the grooves of the melody.”
I really enjoyed reading this article. It is always a pleasure for me to sneak a peak into another artist’s creative process; the insight I gain by examining someone else’s process often helps me to define my own process more precisely. There were many things about Andrew Bird’s process that resonated with me as a writer, the main difference being that where he goes through life with melodies in various stages of creation, I go through life with stories.