There are so many facets to life as a songwriter that there’s always something we can do to move the ball forward. To that end, I’ve listed a few resolutions starting with the little things and moving up to the big ones.

Resolutions for Songwriters

1. Write down a song title every day

If you take a minute or two every morning to wake up your inner songwriter, you’ll be amazed at the cumulative results by year’s end. Keep a small notebook by your bed and write down a song title first thing every day. Don’t spend a ton of time on these, just write down the first thing that comes to mind. Some of your titles will be uninspired but others will be genuinely unique and song-ready. This notebook is a great way of not having to start from scratch when it’s time to sit down and write. Sometimes a title that seemed dull when you were writing it down will inspire a great song when you see it again later. It’s a small thing but it’s a reminder that inspiration is an active pursuit.

2. Find a new (or your first) co-writer

Carrying the weight of creating a song by yourself is both a worthwhile challenge and a discouraging burden depending on the day. Sharing the load with a co-writer is a great way to stay motivated and explore different approaches to songwriting. If you’ve already got an established group of co-writers, go find someone new to get you out of your regular routine. If you’ve never co-written, now’s the time. Finding the right co-writer who has strengths where you have weaknesses and vice versa will simply make for better songs. It takes courage and a bit of a thick skin to open up your creative process to another writer but if you’re both respectful and have a great song as the ultimate goal, you’ll almost certainly be glad you did it.

3. Write a song in a genre that’s new to you

As a country songwriting friend said to me once, “there are lots of countries.” In other words, try to write a song this year in a musical style that’s unfamiliar to you. If you write country, try to write a jazz song. If you write rock, try country. By expanding your repertoire, you’ll force yourself to study different styles of music. This, at the very least, will give you a better understanding of what goes into creating your preferred musical genre. By filtering a different musical style through the prism of your experience, you’ll undoubtedly come up with something unique.

4. Don’t give up

Songwriting is not a profession for the faint-hearted or the easily discouraged. It can be both exhilarating and demoralizing. All this to say, no matter how bleak things may appear currently or how far away success may seem, the only trait all successful songwriters share is that they haven’t given up. A songwriting career is a marathon not a sprint. If things are tough, it’s ok to slow down, give yourself a break and go on “input” for a while. Sometimes just living your life instead of trying to document it is the best way to regain your motivation. Resolve to find the strength to keep at it. There’s a great song out there just waiting for you to write it.

Good luck!

Good Luck!

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6 responses to “Four Resolutions For Songwriters”

  1. Josette Moving says:

    Thank you so much for this. I needed to hear all of this, I’ve been in a rut and felt like I had lost all I know about songwriting. I’d been writing but not editing much. Couldn’t come up with any hooks or melody. Nothing. Just felt like it was dead in me, but I feel hope awakened again just by reading this. Thank you so much for understanding. God definitely spoke to me through you. I won’t give up on my dream. Ever.

  2. Mark Miller says:

    Great article, very inspirational. Thank you for all you do to help us.

  3. Dave Nuttall says:

    Having practiced the “write something every day” thing for some time, I find myself in need of a database of some kind in the event that my memory fails (b. 1945!) but I “know I wrote something about this or that a while back”….how does a person keep their snippets organized?

    I’d write a web-database app but not sure if there isn’t an existing method.


  4. Hey Cliff, Great way to “re-purpose” this content.
    My songwriting is as random as my thoughts. When an idea is jotted down (in my huge pile of yellow pads), I find myself spending some time thumbing through those and if something jumps out from what’s already there, I jot down a line or two, and even finish some right on the spot.

    The lesson is this… Write everything down and keep it where you’ll find it again…

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