I often take forever to complete pieces, so my mission lately has been to find ways of being more methodical with my writing. I don't mean paint-by-numbers but just to not reinvent the wheel every time I sit down to write. In some regard, the painfully slow pace stems from insecurity emotional and creative. But I think there are holes in my theoretical knowledge as well that contribute to a lot of false starts and backtracking.
Which brings me to musical structure. In terms of structure, I pretty much play it by ear and almost never am able to decide on a structure pre-compositionally, as much as I have tried. I'm wondering what other people's approaches to structure are and if anyone can recommend some helpful concepts and/or resources on this topic.
For context, my pieces are generally pretty conservative in terms of structure. Most of my pieces usually have an ABA, ABAB'CA, or ABACA structure. I like to keep the material unpredictable, so I'll often have some major deviation in style or texture and have a lot of connective material. It's not that the end result is unbalanced. It's just that it takes so long, because I'm going mostly by intuition.
Sorry if all this is pretty vague. I guess what I'm looking for are "handles," as in concepts that can help me articulate and suss out a methodology for myself. This would also help me analyze my own pieces and the work of other composers more productively, I believe.
Thanks in advance for your ideas!