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Be a Multithreaded Songwriter

Sep 04, 2021

You might be wondering what multithreaded means. It comes from the computer concept of a processor running different applications at the same time or even different parts of an application at the same time.

Alright, how about an analogy? Let’s say you’re at the dinner table. You currently have the stuffing in front of you (hit the jackpot). You ask your father-in-law to pass the potatoes.

If you’re multithreaded, you get yourself some stuffing while you wait for the table to finish passing the potatoes to you.

If you were single threaded, you’d sit there like a moron and your wife would pass the stuffing on to someone else. Three minutes later you’d ask for someone to pass you the stuffing that started right in front of you.

If your father-in-law wasn’t annoyed at you for existing before, he’s justifiably annoyed at you now.

No need to annoy your father-in-law. Be a multithreaded songwriter. Why work on one song at a time, if you can have a large backlog of songs you’re working on? Let’s go through three reasons to be a multithreaded songwriter.


More Options of What To Work On

I know you want to be watching Netflix right now. Maybe you aren’t even paying attention to this post because you’re too distracted by the greatness that is Daredevil. But, even though you LOVE Daredevil, aren’t there days you just want to chill and watch some New Girl?

Options are good. What we want to do one day might be very different than the next day. What we’re in the mood for or even have the mental capacity for will change with the days, hours and even minutes.

So why limit yourself to only work on one song at a time? You didn’t forget the last thing that happened in Daredevil when you took a day off and watched New Girl, right? You won’t forget your songs either.

It’s ok to be working on several songs at once. I have a whole backlog of songs that I’m actively working on. I think the list is at about 10 at the moment. It’s super nice to be able to back away from one song for a bit and breathe some fresh air into another.

Sometimes working on a different song is enough to help us through the writer’s block we had on another.


Less Likely To Be Stuck and Increased Throughput

If you’re only working on a song about your sadness over a breakup, you might not make good progress on a day you’re happy.

But if you’re working on a song about thankfulness, that might be a good option for your great day.

Every day you don’t feel able to write about your ex’s worst decision of their life, you aren’t making any progress on your writing at all.

Unless you’re multithreaded. Then you can take advantage of whatever mood you’re in and write from that place. Unless all your songs are about the same thing, you probably have something you can work on no matter where your mind is.

The byproduct of this? Better throughput. Better production over time. Instead of finishing one song every 3 months, you might average 1 finished song every 3 weeks. Don’t we all want to increase our production in both quantity and quality?

Being multithreaded is the best way to increase throughput without the cost of extra time. Instead of wasting time making no progress on one song, you can switch to another and make progress on that one.


Less Bothered By Failures and Slow-Developing Songs

If you’ve been songwriting for even a year, you’ve probably learned there’s a massive range of time it can take to write a song.

Sometimes a song just falls into place and you went from nothing to full song in a half-hour.

Sometimes you can’t finish a song for 8 years.

You know what would be pretty annoying? If that 8 year song was the only thing you worked on for those 8 years. But, hey, if you live to be like 100, that means you could finish an album before you die!

Good news is being multithreaded doesn’t put all your eggs in one basket. If you’re stuck on a song, it doesn’t matter and it doesn’t even hinder your song output. If you write 5 songs start-to-finish in between the time it took you to start and finish another song, who cares?

Also, some songs just never come together. Or they do and you hate them more than humans hate the barely-edible garbage that we call Necco Wafers. Think of all the perfectly good cardboard boxes we wasted on making that. Tragic.

Not every song you start will get finished. And you won’t like every song you write either.

That fact is far more painful if you only work on one song at a time. If you’re working on 10 at a time, 1 failure doesn’t hurt much.

Do yourself a favor, and allow yourself the liberty of working on many songs at once. Be a multithreaded songwriter.

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