Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Keeper Ratios for Rewrites vs. Newwrites - Glass Half-Full Outlook Can Lead to Stockpile Mode!

Dear Diary, um, I mean imaginary readers of this blog,

I am hereby posting more information about the writing and recording of songs I've done lately which you may feel free to comment on after reading or discuss freely with anyone afterwards.

Unlike a lot of famous recording artist blogs, I write 100% of everything you read here myself, and it's typically not filled with a bunch of photos I took on my phone while traveling, etc.  Nor does it have a lot of wild stories from the road while doing gigs and tours.

Instead, it gives you honest insight into what is going on with me, and what I think about things, as it relates to my passion of writing and recording songs.

To remind everyone, this is a single-author blog that is not a non-profit think tank per se, but it is free and it covers topics related to and advocating for the culture of songwriting, do-it-yourself music recording, acoustic garage rock music and Scott Cooley album and song appreciation.

I'm not really out to advertise myself as an individual or artist with this blog, but rather, a way to communicate with those who like my music.  Did you know you can comment on any of these posts as well as contact me via email, phone, text, or social media messaging?

Yep, I can be contacted and am usually willing to interact with those who like my music and want to reach out to ask me stuff.  I can usually find something to socially relate to with most people, particularly if I already know they like my music and just are interested to know more about it or me.

I don't moderate the comments, and they are public, but there are private ways to contact me as well which are listed on the Contact page of  So, you can comment on other people's comments, and interact with other appreciators, etc.  If there is hateful or offensive stuff, I do have the ability to delete it, so if you see anything like that on here, let me know and I'll remove it ASAP.

I also occasionally use Twitter as a microblogging platform, and this blog's posts get fed there, so if you like that @scottcooley is the handle.

I'm on facebook too, but log into it even more rarely than this blog, which as you can see, is an average of maybe once every two months.You might get the idea that I don't have much to say if you only look at my post frequency numbers, but you'll see each post is fairly long, and dives fairly deeply and thoroughly, so once you read some posts, you'll see the opposite is true and I do have a lot to say, it's just that I don't post often.

So, I like to wait until I have something of a fair amount of quality and quantity before posting, which means I have to be compelled enough to start a post, then have enough to say that I continue until I have some sort of conclusion or point, and a way to relate it to my love of writing songs.

On to my recent ventures, which have been 1) more rewriting of old songs with mixed conversion ratios, and 2) new song writing spurred on by the rewriting.  Let me elaborate on #1 first:  Usually a song doesn't make the cut for a good reason and no amount of rewriting will boost it to a keeper level to make it "release-worthy," but it is possible for such a thing to happen.

I typically have to attempt rewriting about five borderline keepers before one will become better enough that it is vaulted above that threshold.  That's the approximate ratio.  Interestingly enough, it's about 1/2 of the keeper ratio of writing brand new songs, which is approximately 2/5 or 4/10...something close to that usually.  The other four become "don't waste time on again" songs.

You can look at that as discouraging and effort-wasting, or if you're like me, you can view it as a glass half-full scenario and be psyched you got that 1 K out of 5 tries because the 5 tries were good practice and you got another K you wouldn't have otherwise had, so it's always productive time spent the way I see it.

Then, the beauty of it all is that there's this boost of a bonus that K brings on - it gets you back into the creative flow again, and next thing you know, you're working on new ones again, which brings into play the 2/5 ratio.

Write 5 more, and you're going to end up with 3 keepers and 7 non-K's, but that's OK.  It's more than OK, it's great, because that's what you're trying to do.

When you get on a little creative roll like that, and let's say you write 5 new ones and get your two K's, that's just one spurt, and just an average ratio.  No matter how much you get writer's block droughts, and no matter how much you get afraid you'll never get a spurt again, you know that all you have to do is one thing:  go back through your non-K's a rewrite!

Sometimes you only need three or four short bursts of creative output like that and you're close to an album's worth of material.  Then you know you're close, and writing more to get to that 12 song count is not so daunting.

Once you're over it, you've surpassed the baker's dozen and get into stockpile K mode, you then have the luxury of getting more discriminating and replace a weaker K with a stronger one, improve the lineup if you will.

These are good situations to be in when you're a recording artist with a fan base whose expectations of more releases are based on your past output, and you know you can be consistent and deliver again.  This is precisely the situation I currently find myself in.  A good place to be, for sure.

So, if you're one of the surprisingly many now anonymous readers of this blog for whatever reasons, and one happens to be you're wanting to know if more music is on the way, I'm happy to report the answer is yes.  So, the only thing that could prevent me from releasing on my birthday in even-numbered years again, as has been my practice since the turn of the century, would be if I die between now and then, but the stockpile means potential for contingency plans just in case.

As I just told my friend Rich, it's good to have a couple albums "in the can" because you never know how long you'll live, and just like Yoko Ono and Courtney Love, my wife Lenore will be able to do posthumous releases ... to keep up the lifestyle!  😉