I Am A Songwriter.

I Heart Songwriting Club is a global community of passionate songwriters who love to help and inspire people to become great songwriters!

I’ve been writing songs since I was 14 years old, and was in a band for 10 years in my 20’s, but I never said “I am a songwriter”. I can say it with confidence today, but getting here involved a 23-year scenic route. In this blog entry, I will share a snapshot of this journey starting from when I made my biggest life decision to date: to move to Australia and pursue a life of music.

I Heart Songwriting Club is a global community of passionate songwriters who love to help and inspire people to become great songwriters!

The dates above can be found on the pages of my latest songbook, each date representing a day I got my act together to write. You’ll notice some pretty big gaps in the first 6 years, then a prolific burst starting in 2017. This is when I joined I Heart Songwriting Club. Below are lyrical excerpts from this songbook, followed by posthumous journal entries to set the scene for how these songs came into being.

16 MAY 2010

“What could be better?
Than to walk the road to wherever it leads me
No holds barred until I’m queasy
To unearth a haven, then keep it secret
And find someone to share the night with
… but no, it’ll be just you and me tonight”

I bailed on some friends and stayed home rather than venturing out into the night. You see, I had just moved to Brisbane. Everything about this place felt foreign at the time. And because I was back in school at the age of 29, all of my new friends were a lot younger than me. This made the idea of dressing up for a night out on the town feel more like gearing up for Mortal Kombat. I was nonetheless upset with myself for not being brave enough to just go have fun. For being such a boring old lady.

So what do I do? I write a love song… to my guitar. How sad am I?!

But that’s ok. This is my process. I work myself into a tormented mess then I write about it.

This is what all the greats do, right?

31 DECEMBER 2013

“Through a semi-borrowed Mraz melody
I’d like to pick up where I left off so long ago
It’s been a while but here goes nothing
Here I go…”

My first (and last) time to spend New Year’s Eve alone. I had just Skyped with my family and was starting to feel a twinge of regret for not travelling home that year. I opened a bottle of wine with the full intention of consuming it in its entirety while my cat watched me from across the room. It was the perfect setting for a classic Gabby angst fest… and for making New Year’s resolutions.

I was going to start writing again. Consistently. Starting with this song. And to get the ball rolling I borrowed a chord progression from a Jason Mraz tune. That eased the way for it to be brought to life. It was simple and melancholy. I was glum but hopeful.

I did not keep that resolution.

24 APRIL 2014

“Maybe if I morph into
The animal you want me to become
I will be whole again”

A song about a boy. From a long, long time ago. Why am I writing about this now?!

Oh, that’s right. I needed a trigger. I didn’t have anything to be angsty about, living a comfortable life in sunny Queensland, Australia. So, I dug deep into my treasure trove of teenage misadventures, selected one of my more infamous hormone-induced bad decisions, and away I went.

This strategy has worked well for me in the past, and it still results in some pretty decent song outcomes.

But these songs are very few. And so very far between.

26 OCTOBER 2015

“I’ve become quite adept
At taking a first hopeful step
And gearing up for the offence
Then turning back
Only to start again”

This song was an epiphany that took over 20 years for me to realise: I am so awesome at starting a creative endeavour… but I suck at following through. Excuses like, “I’m busy with work”, “I’m not inspired”, “I can’t play the guitar well enough”, or “I’m too old to start over” spring to mind.

And so there it was. I knew what was wrong with me and that I had to make some changes.

But how?

27 APRIL 2017 (& BEYOND)

“Here I am, rewriting it all over
A fresh new spiral notebook to fill with musical fodder
Because I am still her, she’s still there
If I let her wake up she might still dare
To play the part of lone bard
With a pen and an hour to kill”

I Heart Songwriting Club petrified me. Could I really do this? Write a song every week?

The answer is yes, and I have been for the most part. I don’t like all of the songs I’ve written in the club, but I am proud of the effort I put into each of them. The club gave me the discipline I needed to keep moving forward and develop a creative practice. It taught me that creativity is a muscle that needs exercise, and that with consistency songwriting workouts become easier and much more enjoyable.

I am performing again. Solo. Accompanying myself on guitar. And I’ve started a Facebook page with the word “Musician” written under my name. (I can hear 2010 Gabby gasping in disbelief.)

I have also made a lot of wonderful new friends. Songwriter friends. They are a different breed of human – and I am one of them. I discovered that being in this club also meant being part of a community; a tribe of like-minded, musically inclined, and creatively starved people like myself. I was not alone. Hearing their stories and their music gives me as much life as writing my own does.

I always knew in my heart that music could change lives. But I think I only truly started to believe that when I immersed myself in the club. This experience has me wanting to share the spiritual nourishment I get from songwriting with other people, and I’ve started to do just that through music workshops at homeless shelters (I’ll save that story for later if Francesca will allow me, as I think that warrants a whole other blog post).

So, I’m going to keep doing it. I’m going to keep showing up to the task. Every week. It only takes an hour but the side effects are long-lasting and life-changing.

And because I am a songwriter.

By |2022-04-13T08:35:38+10:00April 14th, 2018|0 Comments

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