3 Things That Piss Off Your Cowriters
Nothing will kill a cowrite faster than this word. Cowriting is a collaborative effort. I've heard it described as playing catch with someone verses bouncing a ball against a wall. When they offer up an idea, even if it's a bad one, they're tossing you the ball; It's on you to throw it back. Maybe you add a change to the line or throw out something completely different. It doesn't really matter what you do as long as you're participating. Saying no shuts down the whole process and makes your co-writer feel awkward.
2. Be Unprepared
Be Prepared. This is especially true for important writes. A quick list of don'ts.
- Don't forget your hookbook at home.
- Don't bring marginal ideas that you obviously aren't invested in.
- Don't forget your instrument (assuming it's needed - some like to write to tracks...but you get the idea).
- Don't be late. Worse yet, don't stand up your co-writer. If it's an emergency, most people will understand. But if they call asking where you are and you sound confused ("Oh, I forgot we had a write today! My bad!"), many will write you off as unprofessional.
3.Know Your Limitations
Let's take a lyricist with no musical ear - they can't carry a tune, they don't play a musical instrument, they don't know music theory, etc. First off, if this is you, you'd be better off fixing that ASAP by at least getting general knowledge of an instrument. More importantly, it means you're going to be (mostly) working on the lyric side of the spectrum. Feel free to throw out musical ideas, but understand that it will be difficult if you can't communicate them. Don't try to steer the melody aspect if you don't know where you're going. For example, "No, go higher. No go lower. No, more melancholy. No, happier. Now really high. Now low. I don't know...that's not what I heard. Let's try again." It's easy to get sucked into this and spend the whole writing session chasing an elusive idea that can't really be communicated or nailed down. It not only wastes time but frustrates everyone involved.
What are some of your writing room pet peeves?