On Songwriting: Avoiding The Awkward Cowrite Start

Cowriting is a strange activity if you’ve never done it before. Especially with someone new. But here’s something that helps me ease into the write without it feeling too awkward.

As you’re getting to know each other, keep track of words and phrases that stick out. Keep track of interesting topics. You don’t have to write it down, but just be aware.

After you’ve been chatting for a bit, rather than saying, “Ok, what should we write about?” you can mention the things you’ve been keeping track of. Words, phrases, interesting paradoxes.

Why do this? It’s less jarring and more natural. And it makes everything you’ve talked about so far a part of the cowrite. It’s like the conversation was the onramp, and now you can easily merge onto the highway. It’ll save you time and headspace.

The other day I was in a session. My cowriter and his wife had just had their first baby. We were talking about his new life of being a dad. After all the pleasantries, what do you think we naturally wrote? A heavy metal banger? No, a lullaby.

Start your cowriting session from the minute you say, “Hi, nice to meet you.” It’ll lead you to a natural collaboration, and help you avoid awkward stops and starts.