A few weeks ago I spent a very intensive few days locked away in a house in the middle of nowhere, with no internet (!), with Jim Moray, Emily Portman and Grace Petrie.
Although it sounds like it could have been a folk version of the Big Brother house, it was actually a weekend of songwriting. As part of my fellowship year with EFDSS I’ve decided to spend some time focusing on this aspect of my music as despite starting writing a few years ago, I still only perform traditional songs, with my ideas remaining half-finished in notebooks and on scraps of paper around my house!
For the weekend I booked a holiday cottage in deepest, darkest Staffordshire and invited 3 great song writers to spend some time writing, playing, talking about writing and looking at each others’ work. Emily, Grace and Jim all have very different approaches to writing and having input from all three of them was completely invaluable. As well as looking at different writing techniques and talking about ideas, we also went for walks in the woods, cooked lots of food, found a vintage train line and even a pub within walking distance.
The location of the cottage and the surrounding countryside was quite inspiring and going offline really helped in taking away a lot of potential distractions! Without getting bogged down too much in the details of the writing process, the weekend was certainly a success for me; I developed a number of ideas and finally finished one song entirely. This might not sound like much for a whole weekend of writing but it was a great step forward in my writing.
Since having got back from the weekend I’ve felt inspired and more confident in my writing so hopefully this will be a catalyst to push me to develop further. If you come to any of my gigs coming up, you’ll have to listen out for my new songs from the songwriting retreat!