"You can't avoid putting yourself - a lot of yourself - into characters," says Peters. "Sometimes they say things for you that you can't say yourself. Sometimes they're tougher than you are. I mean sometimes they're different from you in ways that you wish you were." She finds writing for characters to be an exhilarating and freeing experience, because you can step outside yourself and become someone else. "It's an absolute thrill." And very much like acting. Peters conducts songwriting seminars, and tells her students to watch Inside The Actor's Studio
, because she feels there is so much to learn about writing by listening to actors talk about what they do to inhabit a role. "You have to let that character speak to you. You create this character, but at some point the character lives and breathes and tells you, 'This is what I would say in this song.' This is how I would put it. This is what I would do.' That's when it's really exciting, when you feel like you're onto a real-life person. And lots of your own self comes out in that."
"What I was dying to say," she continues, "came out in this song, which was, 'This is what it feels like to be intensely lonely.'" (Check out our interview with Gretchen Peters
. Her website is gretchenpeters.com