The way I’ve written songs has never really altered over the years. I sit at my desk or my kitchen table, I write on a yellow legal pad with a pencil and eraser, and I just edit, edit, edit, edit, edit, with the guitar in my lap. I want it to feel like that is the word that belongs there and there’s no fluff.
Also, when I’m working on songs and I hit a block, I go what I call song walking, which is just another word for grabbing a dog or a cat and going out and riffing out loud what I’ve been working on as I walk. I live out on a big farm kind of in the middle of nowhere, and I walk endlessly, miles a day. A lot of the time I find solutions on those walks, just singing over and over again until a solution comes to me. I’ve done that for years wherever I am, and it really helps.
—Mary Chapin Carpenter
From my interview with Mary Chapin Carpenter in the July 2016 issue of Acoustic Guitar. I love her term song walking. I’ve done this for years—worked on songs while walking in the woods with my dog—but never had a name for it. I walk and sing/speak melodic and lyrical ideas into my phone and have finished so many songs this way.
Read the full interview here.