9 Things Skilled Songwriters Do Differently

So, what does it take to become a world-class writer? Early in my career, the Hall of Fame songwriter provided me with invaluable insight. He said a lot of people walk 95 percent of the way to greatness, but very few finish the last 5 percent of the journey. This statement struck me, and over my twenty years as a professional songwriter, I’ve noticed that there isn’t necessarily much difference in the level of talent between creators.

Why, then, do some songwriters seem to have too many fans buying their music while others struggle to sell the first song? Why do recording artists record every song writer X writes but writer s Can’t they be caught?

The answer is… there is no leaked The difference in skills between writers who get either 95% of the way or 100%, but there is little. That extra 5% makes a big difference. What these skilled songwriters share are common psychological habits. For me, it took a lot of trial and error to discover these success principles; But the good news for you is that these skills can be easily adopted through practice. Here are the nine traits that help us overcome obstacles to achieving our songwriting goals.

1. Skilled songwriters write whether they feel inspired or not.

We all know how easy it is for words and melodies to flow when an event in life inspires us to be creative. We go through a breakup and feel raw emotion. This emotion has focus. It can be sadness, regret, or comfort. When you combine an inspiring event with focus and direction, it’s easy to pull off.

But, skilled writers know that they are so good at their craft, they must write whether they wish to or not. They are fond of writing and enjoy writing almost every day.. Skilled creators know that they don’t have to wait for inspiration to strike for creativity. They start the mission and invite inspiration to join them.

2. Skilled songwriters are process oriented.

Skilled songwriters focus on the act of writing. They are stuck in the moment as you type, and are able to block both external and internal distractions. They trust the process of staying focused and using the rudder to direct their efforts. Therefore, they are intentional in their work, which allows them to avoid being overly emotionally attached or judgmental when it comes to the song at hand. By blocking all the daily distractions of email, text, and social media, they can dive into the process more deeply and focus on writing. While They write.

3. Skilled songwriters can write what they feel in ways that make sense to others.

Skilled songwriters think about what they write in terms of how others might interpret it. Songs a conversation with the listener. Have you ever talked to someone, but you feel like they don’t care what you think or feel? They just go and talk about something that happened to them? Don’t be guilty of this yourself by writing a one-sided conversation into a song. Always keep in mind who you are writing the song for. What do they think and feel when they hear your words and your melody?

If you, as a writer or singer, feel the influence of a song, but the audience is not, then this is not an effective song. You want the audience to feel the same emotions you feel while writing. It’s also a good idea to consider feedback from professional mentors and people you respect to make sure you receive your songs the way you want them to. SongTown contains monthly hit writer song reviews for members, as well as publisher listening events. These help you see if your songs are reaching their intended goal.

4. Skilled songwriters appreciate different points of view.

It’s hard to be a good songwriter if you aren’t open to ideas that are different from your own. This does not mean agreeing to everything. It simply means openness to all sides. The ability to look at a situation from all angles gives a skilled writer extra depth when writing a lyric and gives the creator options to write the song in the best possible way. This ability also helps you avoid appearing “preaching” to your audience. You can show the audience how you feel but you can’t tell the audience how they should feel or act. Nobody likes to be told these things and instinct will tune the message of your song.

5. Skilled songwriters are constantly learning.

It is reported that people who learn to match have an increase in gray matter in the occipital lobes, the area of ​​the brain associated with visual memory. When the same individuals stop practicing their new skill, this brain issue disappears. Similarly, when writing songs, the “use it or lose it” phenomenon occurs. Skilled songwriters are always learning more about their craft. They study songs and other songwriters. They take lessons, read books about writing, and write a lot.

Remember that not all teachers are created equal. No matter what you learn, look for those who have walked. In the online world, there are thousands of self-appointed experts and educators who have little record of supporting what they teach. Ask questions that tell you if they know firsthand how to accomplish what you want to learn. You will save yourself a lot of time, money and heartache by learning from the best.

6. Skilled songwriters inculcate an exotic nature.

How do you develop curiosity? Simply, by asking questions and refusing to accept things at face value. Skilled songwriters want to know the how, what, when, why and where? It is this curiosity that drives them to delve deeper into human nature and write songs that resonate on a deeper emotional level.

7. Skilled songwriters are good watchers.

Skilled songwriters study many details of life around them and pick up the most useful while filtering the rest. They note if they are reading a text or listening to a sermon at church on Sunday morning. They know that the really great ideas for their art come from everyday life. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard conversations while waiting in line at Starbucks or a concert became ideas for a new song. My first song was a song called “A Beautiful Mess”. I heard the phrase spoken in two movies and wrote it down in my hook book. The song has been a mainstay on radio for two decades — all from being observant and having an antenna to the song’s ideas.

8. Skilled songwriters often try things out.

Getting out of your comfort zone is one of the biggest things you can do for your songwriting and your health. Why is this important? Trying new things keeps the mind sharp, forming new paths rather than digging deeper into the old familiar canyons. But it also keeps your creative channels open. We are more creative when we explore, experimenting with new grooves, rhyme schemes, chord changes, etc., which lead us to new creative places we never imagined.

When we first learn to play an instrument or sing, everything we learn is completely new. But, after a while, it’s easy to slip into comfortable styles and We fail to constantly challenge ourselves. Name a world-class musician who hasn’t spent thousands of hours learning songs, riffs and chords. Why should a songwriter act differently? I dare you to sit down today and learn a song right outside your driving room. This practice is especially important to get out of the writing rut – and it’s simple. Skilled songwriters know that doing the same thing over and over leads to boring old songs.

Skilled songwriters also know that it is crucial to apply this to living life. Learning new hobbies and exploring the world around you makes more fodder for your art. You may have heard the phrase written by great writers what they know. Therefore, living an interesting life by trying new things eventually leads to more interesting songs. My motto is “Live life, then write about it”.

9. Skilled songwriters always have the big picture in mind.

Skilled songwriters know that writing is often a train of ups and downs. Some days your creative juices are overflowing and other days you feel like a frustrated beginner. There are times when the world praises your art and times when your close friends wonder why you do it. It’s the ability to look at the big picture that allows a skilled songwriter to navigate the ups and downs with the belief that the world is ultimately a better place because of music and art. And that struggle is often a necessary component to creating great music.

write on! ~ Clay

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