Five Ways to Make Sure You Finish the Songs You Start

Gary EwerWritten by Gary Ewer, from “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” website.

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Synthesizer Singer-SongwriterSongwriting, like any other task, is more enjoyable and more successful if you have a procedure in place to guide you. You might think I’m talking about a songwriting formula, but I’m talking about something more than that. In order to make sure that you get to the end of the writing process with a finished product, and with minimal frustration, try these five pieces of advice.

  1. Set aside a specific time each day that is your writing time. One time is no better than another; just make sure that it’s an hour or so that you can devote to songwriting and related tasks. Establishing a time and adhering to it helps to breed discipline.
  2. When the creative juices don’t seem to be flowing, try giving yourself some small tasks. These can amount to “games”. For example, set a timer for two or three minutes, and challenge yourself to come up with a chord progression, a melody line, a verse or chorus lyric, etc. An exercise like this enhances your songwriting craft.
  3. Always keep some sort of recording device or note pad with you so that you can write down words, phrases, chord progressions, or other song “bits.” You never know when a creative turn of phrase will hit you, and you want to be sure you don’t lose it.
  4. Never throw out any piece of music you’re writing, no matter how bad it seems. Sometimes something sounds bad simply because it hasn’t found the right song.
  5. Always listen to other genres of music that you don’t usually care for. There’s no better way to boost your creative mind than to listen to something new, something you don’t usually listen to.

Remember that successful songwriting is a mixture of natural talent and craft. The craft of songwriting refers to your knowledge and understanding of how good music works. It’s not enough simply to have talent. You’ve got to train yourself and practice your craft. If you don’t know how to become better, find a songwriting text that can lay it all out for you.

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