Something I’ve been chewing on, for a while now, is the distinction between what we as songwriters expect of ourselves versus what is expected of us.
As a true amateur (I do this because it’s fun and I like to do it, but not for money in any way) I think I have a little more creative freedom as the only expectation I have is from me. I have no band members to be accountable to for the songs I write. I have no publisher expecting to profit from what I write. I have only to write what I feel like writing, what sounds like a fun or interesting idea in my own head.
And from that lack of expectation also then comes a certain creative freedom, I think.
And yet it is also true that I operate best as a songwriter within constraints. For FAWM 2016, I set about to make an album of songs on the theme of “Winter Sports”. For FAWM 2017, it was an album of children’s songs, one for each letter of the alphabet. In both cases my output kept rolling well beyond the constraints I had set, but having that as a way of priming the pump, so to speak, got me going. And of course the whole point of Skirmish is to write to the external constraints of a theme and a time limit, which seems totally to be up my creative alley (as those of you who have suffered through my music the last two years can attest to!).
So I guess I’m just curious how you folks see it; to what extent does having the constraints of expectations (such as in a skirmish group like this) add creativity, and to what extent does have constraint of expectations limit creativity?