I’ve always thought that what sets individuals out as particularly good aside from talent (and the honing of it) is taste.
Taste is really the only thing that dictates the creative choices we make, whether in the songwriting process or in production. Sure there may be some commercial awareness there that sets certain requirements. Maybe an advert needs a certain upbeat feeling without distracting from the dialogue – it’s still taste that chooses how to create that feeling. It takes taste to pluck a good idea from a ‘complete’ song that maybe isn’t quite there in other ways, or to choose mid/side recording (or not) because the sound is right for a certain track.
The trouble is it’s easy to get caught in this flow of taste and possibilities and find yourself over-thinking and second guessing. This is where the inner critic chimes in and starts getting in the way. It is a common feature of my own songwriting and I know I am far from alone in this.
Basically, I’m trying to edit before I’ve finished writing – inflicting my taste on a partially formed hint of an idea or a line that came off the top of my head. Actually writing that out now it sounds a ridiculous thing to do – why should it be any good? It’s a small step on the way to something bigger and taking time to ridicule it only stops me practising and slows down making the body of work necessary to get any good.
What I’m saying is try and avoid judging your writing while you are still going. Editing is great and completely necessary, but comes later. Just relax and let it flow.