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Dissatisfaction With Your Own Songs is an Important First Step to Improvement

If you find that every song you write these days is leaving you feeling a bit disappointed, you may be on the verge of a significant leap forward in your songwriting abilities — if you approach that disappointment the right way.

The problem with dissatisfaction is that it quickly leads to frustration. Frustration is a much stronger emotion, and it leads almost directly to writer’s block.


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But dissatisfaction is a necessary step to improving your songwriting abilities. The key is knowing how to channel the negative feelings that come from dissatisfaction into something more positive, something that results in improvement, not a creative block.

Here’s how dissatisfaction can be a good thing:

  1. You used to be happy with the songs you write.
  2. At some point, they start to sound predictable, dated or otherwise unfulfilling.
  3. You realize that in fact what’s going on is that your songwriting ideas are expanding and becoming more complex, more intricate.
  4. Without disowning the older songs you’ve written, you allow your songwriting style to modify and naturally evolve.

And probably what’s most important is that instead of feeling frustrated with your older songs, you credit that dissatisfaction with moving you in new and innovative directions.

Remember that if you have a healthy fan base, some of those followers will not be happy with whatever new direction your songwriting takes. And that means dealing with a certain amount of fan frustration.

But for every fan you might lose because of the development of your songwriting style, you’ll gain new ones and keep many older ones. The net result should be a larger fan base that has an appreciation for you as a naturally developing musician. For example, fans of The Beatles music from Sgt. Pepper onward mainly still have a deep appreciation for the earlier Beatles music.

The key here is to do whatever you can to not allow songwriting dissatisfaction turn into frustration. Even if you’re not happy with your older songs, remember that the work you did to bring those songs to life was a necessary step in the songwriter you are becoming.


Gary EwerWritten by Gary Ewer. Follow Gary on Twitter.

How to Harmonize a Melody, 2nd ed.“The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” eBook bundle includes “How to Harmonize a Melody”. Discover the secrets to adding chords to that melody you’ve come up with. A step-by-step process, with sound samples to guide you.

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