Coffee, Chocolate Bars, Songwriting…

Does “songwriting” ever make it as an entry in your day-timer?


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Coffee and musicWhat words would you use to describe how songwriting fits into your life? Hobby? Pastime? Profession? Whatever word you use probably describes your level of commitment to it.

Some might say that the level of importance of any one event in our lives is reflected by how likely it is to appear in our day-timer or calendar. You’ll probably tap “Meet Joe for lunch” into your smartphone, but not likely “Buy chocolate bar on the way home.”

Grabbing a coffee, buying a chocolate bar — those kinds of things are the incidental events in our lives don’t require planning. They either happen or they don’t, and frankly, it doesn’t matter either way.

Other kinds of events might not make it to your calendar even if they are important. Those are the things that are crucial to your day-to-day life, but happen with such regularity that writing them down isn’t really necessary. For example, if you work from 9-5 every weekday, you probably don’t need the kind of reminder that a calendar offers.

But your work schedule can and should be in your calendar if your work hours change on a weekly basis. Which gets me to songwriting.

Many and possibly most songwriters would never think of adding “Songwriting” to their calendar. Like buying a coffee or a chocolate bar, it either happens or it doesn’t. But I could make an easy case that treating songwriting with that level of preplanning is a major cause of songwriter’s block.

Perhaps the time you set aside for songwriting happens so regularly that it feels odd to not be doing it. If it’s been your habit to always wake up at a certain time, and immediately begin writing, you are to be commended. But that’s not likely the case.

It’s understandable that you will squeeze songwriting into your daily life wherever it fits. And that’s fine, but like buying coffee and chocolate bars, it either happens or it doesn’t.

So in a bid to eliminate songwriter’s block, or at least to minimize its chance of grabbing hold, try the following:

  1. Open your calendar. Smartphone or computer-based calendars are better than a written calendar because they can give you an alarm/alert.
  2. Choose 5 days per week that have at least an hour of free time each for songwriting.
  3. Set aside 1 hour for each chosen day. That 1 hour should either be an unbroken time slot, or divided into 2 half-hours.
  4. That songwriting session should be at a time of day for which you feel most creative. In other words, don’t set 5 am as your songwriting time just because you think it would be good for you.
  5. Set tangible goals for your songwriting week. At the end of each week, for example, it would not be unreasonable to expect that you might have a completed song to show for your week’s work.

Setting a schedule is one thing. Sticking to it is another. By putting it in your calendar, you are hopefully making a commitment to songwriting as an important part of your life.

-Written by Gary Ewer

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Gary EwerWritten by Gary Ewer. Follow on Twitter.

Download “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6-eBook Bundle, which includes “Chord Progression Formulas”, a great way to create dozens of progressions in any key.

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