How do I write a song?

  1. Live mindfully. Notice things. Remember. Ponder. Read. Keep a notebook of potential song topics.
  2. Get hit with a hook- a line that's catchy, a topic that compels you to speak, or a story you want to tell. "Hmmm. That could make a good song."
  3. Write out a few ideas about what you want to say. If you have a hook in your mind, which will most likely become the chorus of the song, record it into your phone recorder app.
  4. Eat. Hike. Work. Sleep. Let a few days go by.
  5. Wake up. Take a shower. Start singing the hook in the shower. Have a revelation.
  6. Jump out of the shower and record your great idea into a cell phone. If you want to get dressed first, DO NOT stop singing.
  7. A genre or feel you want for the song has probably started to arise. Make a playlist of songs in this genre and flood your ears while driving, exercising, doing housework.
  8. Clear the calendar for a day. Get out your guitar, notepad, and phone recorder and just write. Just sit and do it. Verses, melodies, bridges, chorus, everything. This part was described to me as "wrestling the tiger into the cage" and it CAN be that tough.
  9. Repeat steps 3-8. Don't give up. You will despair. Keep going.
  10. Take another day to catch up on everything you neglected because you were writing a song. Say hello to your family.
  11. Record a demo on home recording software, layer and play with harmonies, other instruments if you can. If you don't know how to do basic multi track digital recording, learn this. It will take effort, but it's really handy. You don't have to go pro with it, just the basics so you can create different layers of sound and mess with them, like an artist with different brushes and colors of paint.
  12. When you are able, take your demo to a great studio (I recommend Dirt Floor in Haddam, CT) and watch the producer make magic with a full arrangement for your song. This should be the fun part.
  13. Share your song with the entire world through YouTube, etc. and feel great about being a songwriter!

Album: Out of the Driveway

When I decided to move away from my home in Indiana to the east coast, at the bold age of 22, my father said as he handed me my parting plate of "daddy-fried eggs,"

"You know, It's a long way out of that driveway."

Those were some hard eggs to swallow, let me tell you. 

Here it is almost 30 years later and I'm still "out East" and he was right. It's never easy leaving home, but there was a whole world to love and learn much!

The album touches on so many lessons learned since I went "out of the driveway," and even more discoveries on the inner road of faith and introspection.

Ablum Out of the Driveway
Music, lyrics, vocals, guitar by Dot Reiser
Guitar, bass, drums, hands and feet, organ, strings, pedal steel by Eric Lichter
"Carry On" background vocals and whistling by Eric Lichter and James Maple
Produced by Dirt Floor, Haddam, CT • Mastered by Steve Wytas

Ways to listen to the Album Out of the Driveway: