This is in reaction to the very good "1st attempt" at writing a song in a recent thread by newcomer Scott. First off Scott, I was very impressed with your ability to make your words punch and weave and bounce rhythmically. Something that is way too often overlooked by our collective criticisms here on this forum of songwriters. I think you score high, very high indeed on that measure.
For me the give away of this being a 1st attempt is the subject matter and the lack of reaching out to an audience. Songs aren't a personal journal. If yours was, you wouldn't have posted it. And more power to you for doing so. You are respected by all of us here for your post. You do want to communicate, whether you realize that yet or not. We all do. We, all of us, just don't want to put the work in once we see that fact. But then... it becomes addicting. Because eventually you do connect. And then you've been bit.
Please read a key except from Arthur Plotnic's The Elements of Authorship. Everyone please read and comment! I love this.
Catharsis Made Simple
Every beginning writer must acknowledge Aristotle's principle of "catharsis," or purgation, as formulated in his Poetics. Good drama (tragedy) arouses pity and fear, but in doing so cleanses the audience of these distressing emotions, giving a sense of relief and even elation.
The cries of the child-writer begin as self catharsis. By calling attention to newly awakened fears, the child seeks to purge them, or even better to make the nearest grown-up feel lousy. Composition teachers know this form of expression as "My God the Pain!" writing. It fills student anthologies:
My head is exploding , man.
My heart's gonna burst.
Nobody knows how it's killing me.
Hey, I can kill, too.
Although the authors may feel purged, such outcries fail to cleanse anyone else or to give, hey, like a little elation? Cathartic diversion is writing that goes beyond primal whimpering to bring elation and relief to an audience. That reaching out is the craft of writing and editing.