Annie's Music, Through It All

Keep Going: a song I wrote in my cold, unfinished basement with no windows

I’ve come to realize that I’m not going to record every song I write, but next in the cue to record is a song called “Keep Going.” (Update: The song is now called “Through It All” and is due to release Friday, July 24th, 2020)

I wrote it back in the early part of February of this year, so before the world… well, changed completely.

It was originally titled: “Just Keep Going.” I had been inspired because the phrase kept coming up in my life. I’ve been constantly trying to just keep writing more songs. Sometimes it’s been really tough. Being a mom of two young children, I’m busy. I also completely relocated my family last year from Minnesota to Wisconsin. To sum it up, it has been a lot of change and taken a lot of my time to get settled and adjusted. I’ve tried to squeeze songwriting into the cracks of my life every chance I get.

One thing that helped me keep going was starting to do open mic nights. For a few months straight, I had a scheduled reason to write a new song at least once a month. I finished “Keep Going” right before the February open mic night I went to, so just in time to share.

Wearing a scarf from my sister Sarah in my basement, working on Keep Going

Keep Going” was written in my unfinished basement.
I have found a regular schedule to write after dinner, after the boys are in bed, or on the weekends. The basement is simply quieter away from everyone, and in February when I was writing this song, it’s just kinda where I ended up. But it’s an unfinished space, so totally covered in cement everywhere and has no windows. I mean, not even those little tiny windows most everyone with a basement would have. So, not super cheery or anything.

I did set up a couple of couches with some sparkly pillows, an area rug and a couple of old wooden crates to set my songwriting notebooks on. That has made it feel a little bit better.

This was February and Wisconsin winters, not unlike Minnesota winters, can be really cold. Because of this, I would wrap myself in a colorful wool scarf my sister got me a few years back whenever I’d write down there. I would look around at all the boxes still from the move, filled with a lot of my memorabilia I used to write about on this blog. It kinda made me feel sad, but also grateful all at once. There were piles of holiday bins sitting on the floor, and my grandma’s broken dollhouse in the corner. (watch my Carry On dollhouse music video here)

I wondered what I should write next, what it would be like to have my first song Carry On out into the world in a month, and who I wanted to sing this new song to. Totally uninspired by my surroundings, or maybe quite the opposite…

…the song “Keep Going” began.

I struggled with writing the lyrics for more than a week. I remember being really frustrated at one point, like I was going in circles. I think I even wanted to give up too. Why bother?

But the more I’m writing now I’m learning about myself, and looking back I realize it’s a part of my process sometimes. Not every song, actually rarely does a song just come out all at once. For me this song was really tough, time consuming. But I kept coming back to it. I kept going. The hardest part? Something I guess they call placing or choosing the pronoun. I use “I” “You” and “We” in the song. The structure and planning of this was super challenging for me. But if you look at the lyrics below you’ll see the placement. I think it works and I’m really happy how it ended up.

I’ve included a video of me singing “Keep Going” on my front porch during the stay-at-home to stay safe days. Until I get it officially recorded, I hope it helps you keep going too.

Here are the lyrics:

Keep Going, by Annie Lynn

My cup was half full, but I was running on empty
I couldn’t see how I’d ever have plenty, enough
But no matter my worries big or small
I looked for a way to climb over the walls

I just keep going if I stumble and fall
Just keep going, like there’s nothing to lose at all
I try to make it better, and always stand tall
If I keep going, I can get through it all

You came along everything changed
My world opened up, completely rearranged
I have a reason, a stronger why
To go for these dreams of mine before this ship passes by

But you gotta keep going if you stumble and fall
Just keep going, like there’s nothing to lose at all
You make it better, always stand tall
If you keep going, you can get through it, through it…

When we look back and see how far we’ve come
Better not stop there, better run run run!

We need to keep going if we stumble and fall
Just keep going, so we don’t lose it all
Together we’re better, so we can always stand tall
If we keep going, we can get through it all

Keep going, keep going…

Keep Going, performed on my front porch during the stay home to stay safe days

Now that we’re all staying at home so much more, trapped in our own way, this song has a lot more meaning to me. It was written before all this started, but somehow the lyrics and feel of the song seem ironic now. Not planned, but completely why I’m really eager to get my vocals down and recorded on this one.

Wherever you are, I hope you are safe, staying sane and finding something that brings you joy. This is hard, but I do believe if we keep going, the best we can, we will get through it all.

Is there a passion you’re exploring that either keeps you going or you’re trying to keep going too? I’d love to hear your story. Leave a comment below.

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