Composer Seán Silke writes:

Why don’t I use a smart phone? Because I need my mind to be free to be creative in any space and at any time.
Creativity is a unique gift. Being able to turn out a set of song lyrics in thirty or forty minutes is something few people can do. This being a very special talent of mine, do I value it? Do I give this talent every opportunity to express itself? The answer is a resounding “YES”.

What times and spaces do I have available to me that others do not? I write lyrics in coffee shops, on the bus, in churches, on long distance travel. How do I discipline myself to be able to be so productive? I deny myself a smart phone. I deny myself constant interruptions. I deny myself 24/7 access to social media and the internet. I prioritise songwriting over everything else.

When an idea strikes me, I am usually able to work on that idea straight away for at least ten minutes. That is enough to get a strong theme developed (perhaps just one verse or just one chorus) and I can complete the job later.

Songs are about moods and the mood which suggests a song idea is fleeting. When a scene in a movie or tv series strikes a chord in me (often in terms of a very specific phrase and incident), I need to capture that mood right away or the opportunity will be lost. You cannot always leap into songwriting action – but you are definitely much much freer to do so if you are not enslaved to your smart phone.

A head free for creative work, a mind at the service of the imagination – this is an essential attitude for the songwriter to have. Smart phones destroy this sense of availability. As a minimum, they reduce productivity and song output very significantly.

I write a song a week. I know what I’m talking about!

Ellen Cosgrove

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