Honestly, it takes as long as it takes until it sounds right and I’m happy to release it into the wild. This is often dictated by deadlines.
There is never enough time, but there always comes a point when one has to say enough is enough.
To quote Leonard Bernstein:
“To achieve great things, two things are needed. 1) A plan, and 2) Not quite enough time.”
Good quote. I always remember a quote from my art teacher which for me applies to music or anything creative I’m doing -
“art is never finished, only abandoned.”
The trick is getting it to the point where you are happy with what you’ve made.
I’m often finding myself deleting the major part of a composition just when it seemed to be finished. This way, i spend sometimes about up two 2 weeks on a track ( or even more ). Sure not 8hours per day, but maybe 10 hours a week approx.
There are also tracks, which just “flow” out of me in 4-5 hours, but these are then more like intros and openers etc.
One of the main problems I have is cramming too many ideas into one track and not developing the original ideas I had. What then ends up happening is you get a load of blocks which all sound really cool on their own, but in context don’t flow.
Musical structure is the hardest thing to nail (for me). I got a lot better at it in the last year, just dealing with the flow / contour / shape of tracks. Once the structure is sorted, I can orchestrate / engineer, etc… in no time at all. But damn, nailing that structure in the first place is hard. It’s easy to create ideas, much harder to develop them.
I agree with garethcoker ..to structure the song is one of the most difficult things for me. I think that If I have a 8 tracks DAW or something like that I would be more productive, because sometimes to have “endless” possibilities makes you wonder: what if I add an extra pad, or something in the bridge or whatever..
For me it takes usually a week, cause I just can work on my songs like five hours a week and sometimes less than that.
For me the important thing is to come up with the theme, or rather the original arrangement of the track … It is always a resource of my brain, so I believe that writing music around the clock ))... But the record itself takes about 4 – 8 hours, if I know what I want:)