We humans have an innate tendency to stay within our comfort zone, at least most of us. There are risk-takers out there, but more often than not we like predictability in almost everything we do.
There’s nothing wrong with staying within a comfort zone, but if you’re a songwriter, writing the same way — staying within your creative comfort zone — gives you the obvious: songs that all sound the same.
Songwriters are very familiar with the chorus hook, but there are other kinds to experiment with, and you will want to discover the power of layering various kinds of hooks in the same song. “Hooks and Riffs: How They Grab Attention, Make Songs Memorable, and Build Your Fan Base“ shows you how it’s done.
If you’re trying to be creative — trying to do something in a way that hasn’t much been done before — you need to move outside your comfort zone, and that’s… uncomfortable.
It’s also a bit scary. Because when you move outside your comfort zone, you’re also trying to pull your fan base along with you. So they’re moving outside their comfort zone as well.
If you’re getting a bit tired of the songs you’re writing, and the process you use to write them, it’s time to be courageous.
You may feel that it’s time to explore new genres, new instrumentations, new (to you) chords, new time signatures, or even new song topics.
For every change you make in your songwriting process, you will lose fans, but if you are patient you will gain new ones. And the ones you lose may eventually come back.
But not all of them. And that’s OK. Audiences always have the right to pick and choose what they call “my music”.
If you lose fans because you’ve changed your style or overall sound of your songs, that is an honourable reason to lose fans. That is far better than losing fans because your songs have become too predictable.
It may be that today is the day that you begin a move in a new direction. You may be ready to abandon a creative comfort zone that has reached its natural end.
The only thing holding you back is the courage to move.
“The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” eBook bundle comes with a free copy of “Use Your Words! Developing a Lyrics-First Songwriting Process,” along with a Study Guide. Learn how to make the writing of a good lyric the starting point for your own songwriting method.