I learned early on that I cannot say, "I'm going to write a song," and just start writing. Before I sit down to write I usually have several lines, if not several verses, in my head. Sometimes, I will start writing within minutes of the initial lines coming into my head. Other times, it may be hours or days before I start writing. On many occasions, I have written an entire composition in one sitting. Most of the time, however, it takes several sittings, over a period of days or weeks, to complete a poem or song.
Almost without exception, song lyrics have come to me accompanied by a melody. I am not musically trained, so it is not easy for me to write music. During my most prolific song writing period (1994-2003), I bought a 49-key, then a 61-key keyboard. I labeled every key on the board and bought some music paper. I would bang out the melody of a song one key at a time, doing my best to determine which words and syllabls got quarter notes, half notes and so on. Of the 20-25 songs that I felt were worthy of recording, I think I wrote the music to about 10 songs.