Trying to let the outside in, and the inside out.
Songwriting is fun, but it's a bit of a mystery as to why I would be any good at it. First, I tend to be distant from others, which prevents me from seeing deeper into people and spotting those universal truths that are the kernels of great songs. And lest you think I'm distant, but perhaps a great observer, I'm not. I've been in situations where I've missed social clues that might as well have been flashing in bright neon.
And what about looking in? Yes, I do that a LOT, but without a stronger connection to the outside world, what is the point of looking inward? If I spot things about myself that seem interesting to me, chances are they wouldn't relate too well to others. In fact, I know this to be true: I have started numerous lyric ideas that when first shared with others were met with, um, tolerance.
So, I think to become a better songwriter, I have to learn to let the outside in, and the inside out. And I think my injury has helped me to do these things, because it not only broke my shell physically, but it also broke it metaphorically. Really, even though I am still guilty of spending too much time alone and not spotting social clues (like eyes that say, "Christ, you are boring the shit out me!"), I do think I'm improving.
Thinking more about why this might be, I figure it has to do with getting hurt pretty severley, but not so bad I couldn't recover (mostly). Because when you're hurt, as I was, you have to let others in to help, and you have to let them know they are helping. Also, an injury like mine raises the fear of depression, so my doctors had me start going to therapy as soon as I felt well enough to survive the discomfort of the car ride, sitting on a couch for an hour, and thinking really hard. And these two things together -- the breaking of a barrier and the therapy -- have helped me know myself better and know others better. And it is all this new knowledge, I think, that has lead to the outpouring of songs since my accident in 2006.
Anyway, that's my theory. Now if I could just finish some of those songs!