How do songwriters make recordings that are in time?
Here's what I've tried:
1) Recording with a metronome.
OK, now my songs are in time, but are different (e.g. quantized/snapped to the beat inappropriately) in places. I believe these issues, at least in part, stem from the fact that I've never transcribed the song I'm playing -- I usually don't know where exactly the beats fit into the rhythm or amongst the words.
2) Transcribing/Carefully counting out each phrase, then recording with a metronome
OK, well I guess this is probably the fool proof way, but, as an amateur it can take me days. In fact, while I've tried this many times, I don't know if I've ever gotten past the first few bars.
3) Making a drum track:
Well, I've tried this with a bunch of songs, while I've had more success with this than option (2), I've never been happy with the results. My thought is always to cut up a recording into (relatively in-time) pieces, record again where necessary, make a drum track, redo the guitar over the drum track (or the cut-up guitar), redo the vocals once the better guitar is down. Somehow this never works out like I planned.
4) Make a drum track using the groove track feature of GarageBand, then re-record using the drum track I was inspired to make this post after spending several hours failing at writing midi drum phrases that would tell GarageBand how to warp this song correctly into time (in hopes it would give me a recording that I could use make a better drum track to help me play the song in time).
So anyways, I feel like I'm going about this all wrong, or maybe it's just hard. There are so many things to try doing or studying or practicing. I'm feeling overwhelmed and hoping for some advice that will give me direction and motivation. Any idea what I need to study or practice in order to overcome this hurdle?