Why’s It So Hard To Just……WRITE?!!!

Long time, no write BLOG POST.  Why, I ask?

I’m a writer. I have hundreds of songwriting credits in film and television and I have written a book about songwriting and my memoir pieces have been published in literary journals and still, I wonder if a Stephen King villain is around the corner waiting to pounce on me if I type the wrong word, sentence or punctuation mark.

I use my imagination more frequently to conjure up reasons NOT to write, than to actually write.


Do you know why YOU procrastinate when it comes to putting down your own words or doing those things you’ve been meaning to do but haven’t?

I have a lot of excuses. I need to meditate first. Get the cushion out, now!  Oh, oh, if I don’t get to the gym before 2 pm, the pool will be closed, gotta go, now!  I didn’t make fresh celery/kale/ginger/cucumber juice and the stuff is all going bad in the fridge – do it, now!

Yet…I say my writing is a priority and the slots on my calendar are supposedly non-negotiable, time-sensitive events.

So why am I at my desk now, at 10 AM (woke up at 6 and was supposed to have put in 2 hours of writing by now) wondering if NOW is the time to go to the gym, make juice or respond to yesterday’s emails?  I’ve already had my breakfast WITH veggies, and swum miles across the internet. What I haven’t done is keep my promise to myself. Why?

There’s such a simple answer to my question.

I’m afraid my writing will suck.

I’ll make this brief. (Shakespeare would approve:  “T’is better, sir, to be brief than tedious”, Richard III Act. 1, Scene 4)

If my writing isn’t good, (who’s judging when I’m just click-clacking at the keyboard anyway???)  does that make me a failure? A freak? A criminal? Unloveable?

What do YOU think?

I don’t think so.  But I do know that if I consider the quality of my writing to be the measure of my worth, I’m in trouble.  If my fear of writing badly and being judged for my writing is forefront in my consciousness when I am writing, the enterprise is SURELY doomed.

Which is why I will push aside my excuses and just peck away RIGHT NOW, a few hours after I said I would. Because doing anything I like to do imperfectly is better than not doing it at all.

THERE. Brief and hopefully not too tedious.  My first Songwriters Playground post in 3 and a half years. Bravo Babs. Now off I go to write another song for my musical. More about that later!

No Excuses !





Three words.

No excuses.

You can write today for 15 minutes, I promise you.

Don’t pay any attention to your thoughts and just look around the room or place where you are right at this moment. What 3 things do you see?  Write them down; the three THINGS you see and don’t think any more about those words.

I saw a spiral, a face and a shade.

These were actually:

Spiral rings of a notebook

A face on a spray bottle

A pink and yellow shade on a lamp.


But I don’t care what they are. I’m going to use those three words and just write one word after another until I’ve used all three of those words.

If I finish using those words and don’t know where else to go, I’ll look around and describe three other things with adjectives describing them, such as  “metallic” (spiral  rings), “shadowy” (face on a spray bottle), and “mauve” (shade on a lamp).

I will then use those adjectives in the next part of my writing.

If I think I’m done, so be it.

If I want to continue writing, I’ll either let the story spin itself out on its own, or I’ll look around the room again and see what’s happening. There will be 3 verbs that describe the action.

The spiral rings are vibrating.

The face is staring.

The lamp is burning.

And so on until I can’t say I have nothing to write about or be inspired about today.  I won’t edit, I’ll just give life to something on paper.  Then I’ll look back at the writing, read through it once or twice and get an emotional vibe from it.  I won’t worry about using every single word I generated from the previous exercise in my story.


Hell to pay.  Helen was in the passenger seat and her brother Farrell was swerving violently left, then right as he did so often when he wanted to punish her. She cupped her hands tightly over her eyes until  she could see dancing spirals of light, and bent her head down over the glove compartment.

Farrell’s face was flushed and his pupils gigantic. He swigged down at least half of his water bottle and accelerated to about 90. They were on the deserted stretch of 86 between Mattapa and the old Oshee Pass and no one was going to care that he was terrorizing her. He could get away with it, he always did, and she could do nothing about it.

“Would you like me to slow down, Helen?  We could stop now, find some shade, and break out the lemonade you packed. Or….we could just push you out of the car right now, and leave you all alone in the desert without a thing to drink. I could do that, Helen, do you know that? Do you understand how bad you’ve been”?

What is that metallic taste on my tongue, she wondered, what did he put in my drink? Is it the taste of my fear or is it poison? She was always left to guess whether this was the time she’d finally be murdered, in his mauve Porsche or in the shadowy alleyways he’d make her walk down when they took Harley out.

Her seat was vibrating. She felt his rage scorch her skin but she would not open her eyes.


Then I’ll go back to the first three words and find the letters that are musical notes in each word, and let them be a melody for either a baseline, a chord progression, or a melody.




(A) (C) (E)


(A) (D) (E)


After I play around a bit riffing on the notes, I will look back at the story and  begin to write a song using the story as a jumping off point. No rules. It doesn’t have to make any sense or be related to the story unless I want it to be. By now I’m in a creative mood and if I doubt it and begin to paralyze myself with judgment, I will remind myself that WRITING IS A PRACTICE.  The only think I can do WRONG in my writing practice is to NOT WRITE. Then I don’t get to practice. I don’t approach this as “I must write something wonderful in this moment”, but simply as “I will write something in this moment”.

Slow down

Can’t do nothing about it

It’s a showdown

Someone’s gonna get burned

Time to

spin a spiral around you

I’ll find you

Cause you’ve a lesson to learn


Then I take a walk, or a nap or I go to bed that night feeling good about having exercised my writing muscles. How else am I to get strong?

Thanks for listening.



Spiritual Transformation Through Crap

Spiritual Transformation through Crap

Sometimes (especially as Saturn returns, according to my astrologist friend) I feel I’m going mad. I don’t write 24 hours a day – there are other pressing concerns like “where do I buy a battery for this watch I once thought was so terrific”, and “what’s the least repulsive way to give my doctor a poop sample?

Parasites are everywhere, waiting to suck the life force out of you. You HAVE TO reserve time for restorative activity so you can transcend the crap or better yet, turn it into gold. Is there a technology for that?  You bet. It’s called Arts Alchemy 101; grab your mouse, keys and let me show you the curriculum.

You want transformation?  I don’t care how composed you look at your day job; a seething cauldron of emotion is right there under the surface, and you’d be foolish not to choose how and when it erupts.

Everything that happens to you (and by osmosis, everyone else), thrilling and rotten, delightful or irritating, is grist for your artistic mill.  Daily events are the bric-a-brac you will piece together to make your sculpture, your symphony.  Replacing the battery and mailing off the poop specimen is part of your unique story, the one you literally weave from all the crap you go through.  

So, waste not want not.  Notice all things around you, take notes, and at the end of the day, build the story.  Shit happens, make something of it, and voila, you’ve got your spiritual transformation.


Welcome To Songwriters Playground !

It's a New Day!

It’s a New Day!


Welcome to the new Songwriters Playground website, a joyful spot where you can get into your crazy mind without actually going crazy!

Why do you think creative people throughout the ages have been either:

1. Crazy, unstable, neurotic, bi-polar, etc etc…whatever state of illness you want to call it.

2. Users of addictive natural or chemical substances to “get them in the mood” for their art.


3.  Well adjusted, organized artists who write both when they’re inspired and when they aren’t?

I’ve been studying creativity and doing some form of writing most of my life and I have concluded that you can either do your art in an anxious, chaotic and unhappy manner or you can give those same creative muscles an exercise program that regularly strengthens and works them out.

It is a FICTION that you must suffer to create great art. It is a LIE that you have to be drunk or high to get past the superego gatekeeper that says “You’re not good enough. Don’t quit your day job”.

I was blocked and I decided to do something about it many years ago. I had friends and co-writers who got blocked from time to time, or who went through long stretches when their writing wasn’t vital, and they didn’t enjoy the process as much as they used to. The air just wasn’t pushing their songwriting sails. They felt stagnant.

Back at that time I hosted a weekly songwriters group called Heavy Hitters, in which we did fun, and I mean REALLY FUN stuff that got us all juiced up. We weren’t Heavy Hitters at the time, but I wanted to think big. Within a very short period of time, we WERE Heavy Hitters, and many of us had to drop out of the group from time to time because we had to come up with songs for various artists, tv shows and films in a hurry. And it was mostly because our songs had gotten so much better from doing the exercises that we were now in demand by the industry. Frankly, it was amazing, and I look back on that time as one of the most exciting and fruitful periods of my life.

The exercises made us feel high, and that energy propelled us to create sizzling songs. We achieved what’s called “wild mind” by just doing the exercises in a certain sequence designed to enliven the senses and generate a lot of scrap material from which to pick and choose elements that would become a finished song.

This workshop became the foundation of the Songwriters Playground book.  It’s not magic;  it’s just a somewhat magical method. My new website goes beyond simply telling you about the book – it is the embodiment of the Songwriters Playground workshop. It affirmatively welcomes you home to your best creative self, the place in your heart where everything is possible. You know you can sometimes feel it, but just when you want to anchor it, it wriggles away from you.

Well, hold on and let me lead you to a place where you can regularly and reliably tap into that source WHENEVER YOU WANT TO. You’ll safely relax your resistance so you can ultimately take control of your creativity. And you won’t have to actually BE crazy to do so. You’ll just look and feel like you are.

Okay, buddies. Get ready for some rich and rewarding Song Playing, and enjoy the ride!

See ya later!

See ya later!