The How I Write series asks songwriters to describe their writing process and what influences them.
Here, Vancouver-based singer/songwriter Dan Mangan:
"I write slowly, painstakingly so. I edit endlessly, which doesn't help make it any speedier.
I believe creative people act like sponges – they ingest everything around them all the time and debate, dissect, contemplate, analyze and then figure out exactly how and why it makes them tick. I know this for myself, at least. Every now and then, the sponge gets wrung out, and all their "takes" on all of this data they've absorbed get regurgitated back into the world.
I try to always have something on the go, even if it's not much. I also try not to freak out in dryer times. I try to trust that in time, more will come. I try to listen to the world. I try to be open to new ideas about the world. I try to not assume that I'm right. I try to continue to surround myself with interesting experiences, which will, in turn, spur on new creative ideas. I try to listen to good music, watch good films, read good books and go see some theatre or visual art as often as possible.
Whatever art one is making is everything they’ve accumulated to at that moment – it is important at that moment, and if it’s truly insightful, it will be important for a long time.
The death of a good artist is assuming that they’ve figured it out, or that they’re as good as it gets. I believe that the maintenance of a good artist is assuming they know very little – to continually reinvest in their hunger to grow, evolve and improve in their ability to understand the world."
Dan Mangan's latest album is Oh Fortune.
Listen to Dan Mangan's set live at CBC Vancouver
Dan Mangan discusses his four Juno nominations with CBC Music
Stream Oh Fortune in its entirety
Are you a songwriter, and keen to share your process with CBC Music? Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org.
on Jan 06, 2012