Stevie Nicks Has an ‘Entire Filing Cabinet’ of Songs: ‘I Get Nervous That I’m Drying up if I Don’t Write’

In 1981, Stevie Nicks said she had an entire filing cabinet full of songs stocked away, mainly because she wrote so much and was afraid of “drying up” as a songwriter. If Nicks has continued to stockpile her songs, that could mean we’ll get a lot more songs from Nicks in the future, either in her lifetime or beyond.

The “Gypsy” singer once said that fans should worry about the day when she walks out on stage blasé. That’ll mean she doesn’t care about performing anymore. Well, we should actually worry about the day when Nicks’ song ideas dry up.

Stevie Nicks performing in black with Fleetwood Mac in Belgium, 1990.
Stevie Nicks | Gie Knaeps/Getty Images

Stevie Nicks has songs stored in a filing cabinet

During a 1981 interview with BAM magazine, Nicks talked about how frequently she wrote songs. She said she didn’t have a regular writing regimen, but she did write a lot. If she didn’t write, even just a little bit, she felt like she’d dry up.

“I just write when I feel like it, which is a lot of the time,” Nicks said. “Sometimes I write every day, sometimes a few days will go by when I don’t write anything. I get nervous that I’m drying up if I don’t write often.

“I have entire filing cabinets filled with stuff I’ve written. It’s songs plus I’ve been keeping a journal for the past six or seven years, so I’ve got the history of Fleetwood Mac completely written. It could be an incredible book, but it would be a massive project to pull it all together.

“There are books within books within books, the making of all of the albums, the tours, the relationships; John and Chris trying to work together, Lindsey and Stevie trying to work together. It’s all there…”

BAM interjected, “Soon to be a five-part mini-series on ABC starring Morgan Fairchild as Stevie Nicks….”

“It really could be, and they wouldn’t have to sensationalize a thing!” Nicks replied. “You have no idea of all the stuff that’s gone on. It’s been fascinating.

“Getting back to songwriting, though, anytime I think a part of a song might be coming out, I’ll try to write it. Like I wrote a song in the middle of the night last night, which makes me very happy because whenever I write a new song I feel great for a few days.

“This new tune’s about how the house shakes when the waves hit the beach. I’ve got a whole cassette of me sitting at the organ singing lines over and over again. Writing is fun for me. I’ve got a wealth of things to write about.”

When writing songs, Nicks has always had a lot of inspiration.

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Nicks wrote songs about existing in ‘the world of men’

The “Silver Springs” singer was right; she did have many that inspired her. One of the things that inspired her the most was her own life. She didn’t just write about her relationships with men, though. Nicks wrote songs about existing in the world of men.

“I’ve always thought your songs presented an interesting view of womanhood,” BAM told Nicks. “It’s not quite a ‘sisterhood is powerful’ feeling, but some of your compositions seem to emphasize the bond you feel with other women in an almost spiritual way.”

Nicks responded: “I think that’s probably true. I’m surrounded by men in this business so I need a little feminine comfort, and one way to find that is to write about how I exist in this world of men, how I deal with them and how they deal with me. And I tend to talk about it as ‘we’ instead of ‘I.’ I’m no great women’s liberationist, though. I found out a long time ago that that doesn’t work, so–“

BAM said that that was somewhat cynical.

“It’s true,” Nicks continued. “I get a lot further with the men in this business by being feminine and sweet and not aggressive and quiet. They let me in. They don’t let in aggressive, pushy women. Say one word too much and you’re out. Well, I didn’t want to be out. I wanted to be friends with them.

“They’re my peers and contemporaries. They’re people I have to work with and I damn well am going to be part of them. It took me a long time to be anything to them besides just a ‘girl.'”

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Nicks said she wrote the same way she did when she was 16 years old

Continuing to BAM, Nicks explained that while most of her songs are about her existence in the world of men, they are also about problems everyone has in their lives.

“Things that I know are in a song some people might not see,” Nicks said. “And then I never know how others are going to interpret my songs based on things in their own lives. I just hope people like it and it makes them feel good. My songs talk about problems everyone in the world has. They’re not unique to me.”

Nicks also explained that her songwriting hadn’t changed much over the years. “My songs don’t change much over the years. I write much the same way I did when I was 16. I’m no better on guitar or piano. I do exactly what I always did: I just write about what’s happening to me at the moment.

Like many songwriters, Nicks’ songwriting techniques are complex yet simple. However, we’re glad she’s still writing so much and that her ideas haven’t dried up. We need Nicks to fill many more filing cabinets of songs.

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