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The Frustrated Songwriter's Handbook: A Radical Guide to Cutting Loose, Overcoming Blocks, & Writing the Best Songs of Your Life Paperback – May 1, 2006


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The Frustrated Songwriter's Handbook: A Radical Guide to Cutting Loose, Overcoming Blocks, & Writing the Best Songs of Your Life + Writing Better Lyrics + Songwriting Without Boundaries: Lyric Writing Exercises for Finding Your Voice
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Backbeat Books (May 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879308796
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879308797
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 7.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #334,146 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

The methods in this book are great at getting you past whatever it is that blocks your creative output.
timeuser
This book is great for songwriters who can put aside a day at a time just for uninterrupted writing or for anyone who wants to be able to get the confidence to write.
Geoff Bowman
For the next week I waited quite impatiently for a day when I could set aside a full 12 hour day to give this process a whirl.
Ciskokidd

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Ruth Greenwood on August 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
People never have TALKING BLOCKS...so why should they have writing blocks?! This book is a radical blast through stuckness, perfectionism, laziness, creative slumps and it is ALSO a cure for the thought that songs only happen when we're fondled by the Muse.

Sure, it takes a long time to learn the craft of writing, to do brilliant REwriting, and some songs take a long gestation period.
But sometimes you have to GO FOR IT. Going for speed and quantity, in the ways this book suggests, can be liberating. And there are fine points here that can be adapted to support your creativity even when you're not doing an all-out 24hr thing.

I'm a pro writer, with major label, TV credits, singer-songwriter credits, I teach writing. (My CD's available on Amazon.) But THIS book made me want to jump up and down because IT'S SO DIFFERENT THAN ALL THE OTHER SONGWRITING BOOKS! Whatever's on your shelf...you don't have what's here...

The only thing that puzzles me is why there are no lodges yet in Nashville...or on the East Coast. Are only West Coasters unafraid and radical and willing to go on a 24-hour writing marathon?

I may have to start my own lodge.

Working on the secret handshake. Buy the book. Have FUN!

Ruth Greenwood, Ruthenium Music
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By James Armstrong on June 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
These guys have cracked the code. They have solved the mystery. They have found a way for all of us tortured genius songwriters, squashed by overactive, hypercritical superegos (often the result of a dicey childhood), to re-enter, at will, that magical state called "flow", that divine order of play, that childlike state, where time stands still, creative juices threaten the levees, the muses descend from Olympus to sing nine-part harmony in your ear, the background fades into soft focus and you write a whole bunch of songs. If you have ever felt stuck as a songwriter, you have to read this book. You will feel the cameraderie, support, encouragement, empathy and acceptance of the authors and the brother and sisterhood of the songwriting groups that have adopted the methods set forth in the book. I have been writing songs for more than 35 years. I have taken many songwriting and creative writing classes and seminars, but the authors of this book are "Hobgoblin running off with the garland of Apollo". I mean they have performed a miracle here and really want you to join in.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Mohler on December 21, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book would benefit if the subtitle was changed to "A Radical *Method* to Cutting Loose, Overcoming Blocks, and Writing the Best Songs of Your Life." As a frustrated songwriter, I purchased this hoping it provide various insights and multiple approaches to overcoming writer's block. As it turns out, it just gives one: set aside 12 hours (12 straight hours, not broken up) and try to write 20 songs, and do this on a twice-a-month basis or so. The rest of the book gives tips on how to do this productively, including starting a lodge as a kind of mutual support group.

I will say I did find most of the tips interesting, and will try them, but they seem aimed more for someone trying to write at a furious pace. That is, someone who is generating so many half-formed songs that they can toss out most of them. I'm deterred less by the idea trying to pound out 20 songs at a sitting than trying to free up 12 solid hours. I'm thinking it's not a coincidence that Dungeons and Dragons was mentioned at least twice in the book- a game with similar time demands and intensity and generally most popular with folks with tremendous amounts of free time.

The lodge idea is interesting. The book spends a lot of time on how to build and maintain one. They sound almost like psychotherapy support groups, requiring members to be supportive and emotionally open. I like the idea of it, but, given my personal experience with musicians and songwriters, I can't imagine how a lodge would last for more than a few sessions. After I read the book, I googled ICS, thinking perhaps there might be a few in Atlanta. It turns out that there are very few in the world, most of them clustered on the west coast. On top of that, of the lodges that have webpages, many seem defunct, or petered out years ago.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Spokanistan Steve on May 12, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The approach taken in the book reminds me of "Morning Pages" in "The Artist's Way." (Writing 3 pages of "flow of consciousness" material a day) Although I have not, (nor plan to) begin what the authors call a "lodge," I find the exercises helpful and insights into creating songs refreshing. I think the main jist of the book is to forget your perfectionism and write, write, write.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Chris on July 14, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First off, there are a LOT of great ideas in here. A TON!!! You have to have a general knowledge of computer recording to do a lot of them, though.

Now, the flaws - it seems to talk too much about the whole songwriter lodge thing... where friends gather once a week and share the ideas they've made during the week. This is a great idea in theory, but in my 15+ years of writing music, I haven't met anyone who is truly into this idea... if anyone wants to get together to share songs, they form a band.

Aside from that, the "Start" and "Stuck" decks are fantastic, and I've used ideas from the book and added my own. They always, always are helpful.

There are a lot of great ideas overall in this book, and it's a lot of fun to read. Sure, I'd like to form a songwriter's lodge, but there's just no one around here who would be dedicated or committed enough to give it a full try. I've searched, too.

But if you are a solitary/introverted/DIY songwriter, this book is really helpful. Backbeat Books always puts out high-quality songwriting books, and this is truly no exception.
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