The life of a songwriter is full of a seemingly endless array of tasks that extend well beyond the act of writing songs. While there are a lot of things songwriters can – and should – be doing to get ahead in their careers, sometimes it can be a relief to know that we don’t have to do it all. I’ve put together some compelling reasons why we, as songwriters, should remember to delegate.
If you don’t have the luxury of writing songs full time, or even if you do, there is a limited amount of time each day that you can devote to your craft. The key is taking full advantage of that time by doing the things that you’re best at. Diluting your available time with distracting tasks that could be better taken care of by someone with more experience/expertise isn’t a solid business decision.
It can be tempting to try and take care of everything on your own for a variety of reasons including being a control freak – like yours truly – or thinking it will save you money. The danger in this approach is that you might not have the expertise in every area and while you might be able to get by doing everything, nothing you do will really shine. The expression “Jack of all trades, master of none” comes to mind here.
There are certain non-negotiable items on the to do lists of all songwriters. First and foremost would be writing your songs. This is something no one else can do for you. I also believe that relying solely on someone else to pitch your songs is a mistake as experience has taught me that no one will ever care about your songs more than you will. However, there are many other tasks that experts have spent considerable time and resources learning. The one that comes to mind immediately is recording your demos. It can be tempting to think that buying recording equipment will save you money but what most novice engineers forget is that recording is a skill that requires the same dedication to your craft that songwriting does. If this isn’t something you’re passionate about, you’ll end up spending a lot of time and money on something that will still yield a sub par result. If recording isn’t your thing, go to the experts. There are many.
Staying motivated to get up every day and make a go of a career in songwriting is challenging under the best of circumstances. It becomes even more difficult if you find yourself overwhelmed by tasks that you don’t care for and have no interest in doing. While there will always be a certain amount of unromantic work involved in a songwriting career that we have to do ourselves, the more of that work you can delegate the more enjoyable your time will be and the more enthusiastically you’ll approach your job.
The elephant in the room here is, of course, the money it takes to offload some of the work by hiring someone else. This is where being creative in your approach will yield the greatest dividends. Since you’ll be able to devote your time to what you’re best at, think about barter arrangements with those who can help you out with their particular expertise. Your effectiveness is the key here. Working smarter not harder is something worth keeping in mind at all times.