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Your Future in the Songwriting World: What’s Your Plan?

The world of songwriting — in fact, the world of music in general — often rewards dreamers. The hope that you’ll be a big name in the business someday almost seems to be a prerequisite to actually becoming a big name.

When you think about it, hoping and wishing is probably an important stage for most of life’s interesting career choices. As a kid, you probably dreamed of being a firefighter, a doctor, a pilot. And sure enough, many of those dreamers have gone on to live those dreams for real.

There are other jobs that don’t seem to have dreams as a first step. I’ve never heard of a kid dreaming to be an actuary, even though (I’m told) it can be a very rewarding and interesting career choice.

As a songwriter, there is the possibility that you don’t have any particular dream or plan for your songwriting future: as far as you’re concerned, songwriting is just a hobby, something that fulfills you and makes your days worthwhile, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

But if you have a thought that songwriting could be something more — something that might provide an income stream — it takes more than hopes and dreams. You need to turn those hopes and dreams into an actual plan.

How to make money from songwriting probably changes by the decade. So if you’re doing an online search on this topic, it’s best if you find recent articles to guide you.

There’s a useful blog online, Disc Makers Blog, that has an article you should read, called “Making Money From Songwriting.” They offer several suggestions for how you can turn your hobby into something that could make you a bit of cash, including writing musical arrangements, selling and licensing your songs, and so on.

But knowing the ways you can make money still won’t guarantee success. There’s one other thing that I’ve stressed over the years on my blog, and it’s this: you must be writing consistently excellent songs.

You can get excited that you’ve written a song that sounds great and that your fan base loves. But one good song will not get attention from anyone in the business. You must develop the skills to write great songs consistently.

So if you hope songwriting will form a good chunk of your music career, you need to sit down, make a plan for what you’re going to do, and then plan how you’re going to do it. That article on the Disc Makers Blog can serve as an important guide.

And then practice the art of songwriting every day. Target various aspects of your songwriting — your ability to write an engaging melody, or a captivating lyric — and work to improve every day.

Consistency is everything in the world of songwriting. Yes, you can dream, and you should dream. But be sure to look objectively at what you’re actually writing, and then don’t be afraid to ask yourself this crucial question:

“Would I buy this song?”

Gary EwerWritten by Gary Ewer. Follow Gary on Twitter. Hooks & Riffs“Hooks and Riffs: How They Grab Attention, Make Songs Memorable, and Build Your Fan Base” shows you how a good hook can make the difference between songwriting success and failure. With great examples from pop music history.Written by Gary Ewer. Follow on Twitter.

“Best songwriting books I’ve ever found, hands down! You cover all the bases” – M.K.
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