If you are not in the “Awareness Zone,” nothing that you read will be helpful. The hints contained in the pages you turn will simply be reams of words that you absorb with your eyes only, but not with your psyche. To be in the “Awareness Zone” you must be alive to every influence, be it visual, visceral, or emotional.
Once a lesson has been learned, take it forward with you. You cannot correct past mistakes, but if the lesson has been well learned, you will not repeat it. Yet it has been said that there is a period after which you can learn no more from books, but in which life is the essential teacher.
To study the songwriting techniques of an experienced songwriter is a commendable pursuit. We are all constantly learning life techniques anyway, in every step of our daily lives. We are at any given moment investing ourselves in opportunities, relationships, and endeavors, all of which will pay off with varying degrees of rewards. An author who has written a book hoping to enlighten you, is simply sharing his or her life experiences and insights to add on to and complement your own. Allow authors to influence you but not to take you over. Learn to absorb the important insights of others and still remain an original within yourself.
Becoming a good student of a discipline such as writing songs has a lot to do with becoming adept at absorbing life as you live it.
For example, going into a restaurant to eat a meal will either prove to be a satisfying experience or not. Nevertheless, those of us who are in the “Awareness Zone” will gain a sensory and gastronomical experience from every aspect of it. Walking into the room we will get an internal reaction from the design and decor. We will be attracted to, repelled by, or disinterested in the appearance of the place. We will note violations of cleanliness which will make our nostrils flare in distaste. We’ll notice other customers and make up mini-stories about who they are and why they look the way they do, then react to the half-eaten mess on their plates. We will peruse the menu for something that tickles our fancy and makes our juices flow. The waiter will please or annoy us, the food when delivered will rarely resemble the description on the menu.
The taste of that food will either bring us joy or indigestion, but the point is, taste is actually only one part of the experience. It is important to be there for each of the impressions gleaned in the course of life, no matter how miniscule.
We are each a product of every moment of experience we’ve had from the day we’re born. Don’t get so caught up in rules, parameters and “should’s” that you miss out on all the fun of discovery and the wonders of personal enlightenment.