"I've come to understand now that in grief, people do strange things so I've changed my outlook towards her calling me, but at the time I was very upset and I wrote the music in one sitting and then I started chipping away at the lyrics as fast as I could. … It was a very, very painful period writing that music."

I always interprete "chip away at" as progressively destroying something. Here it seems to mean finish the lyrics. The musician had a lot of lyrics to choose from and needed to trim everything down?

EyeSeeYouI always interprete "chip away at" as progressively destroying something.

It may sometimes refer to progressively or little by little completing a task. In this case we may perceive that we are "chipping away" at the things that still need to be done, progressively reducing their amount.


It's being used metaphorically here, and the intended meaning is to achieve something by doing small bits of work until the whole task is accomplished. [ cross-posted]

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Michelangelo chipped away at the large block of marble until the embedded figure he had seen in it was revealed.

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