What are you doing to improve as a songwriter? You’d probably answer that question by saying, “Well, I’m trying to write more“, or “I’m trying to become more consistent…” That’s one way of saying that you don’t really have a plan.
No one improves without change. You want to get better at baseball? You change the way you’re holding the bat, or the way you stand in the box. Imagine if the batting coach said, “Well, you really need to hit more balls,” and walked off.
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You want to improve as a runner? You may hire a coach who can pinpoint specific aspects of your running style that need to change. Imagine if that coach simply said, “Well, you really just need to run faster.”
Something’s got to change if you want to be a better songwriter. I can’t say what that is, because it’s different for everyone. But if you approach songwriting the same way that you always have — if you use the same process that’s given you the songs you feel are lacking — then you’re relying on random chance to provide you with a great tune.
And random chance means you’re waiting too long between successful songs.
If you can’t answer the question, “What are you doing to improve as a songwriter?” with anything specific, and if you don’t have any targets, any goals or any plans, you’ve got little hope of knowing just how good you really are. And you’re going to keep churning out new songs with old problems.
You may have the potential to be a top-notch writer of consistently excellent songs, but how would you know if you don’t change something about the way you’re writing now?
What you change depends on what’s preventing improvement. You need to take a good, long, sobering look at your songs, and assess them with brutal honesty.
Improvement starts with your songwriting process. Once you know where your weaknesses are, the solutions come next. Developing a new songwriting process that results in consistently good music may take a while, but once you know where the problems are, you’re at least at the starting gate, pointed in the right direction, and that’s important.
So get the ball rolling! Start here with these two simple questions:
- “What is/are the weakest aspect(s) of my songs?
- “What am I going to do to fix that?”
And if you say, “I’m just going to try to do better,” you are like the batter who’s simply trying to hit more balls. With the same problematic grip, the same problematic stance.
It’s time to become specific about how you plan to change your writing.
So… What are you doing to improve as a songwriter?