In a songwriter’s life, delayed gratification is the norm. Songwriting success, when it comes, comes after years of effort. That being said, there are a few essential things that songwriters have to do consistently – and starting right away – if the hope is to make a living at their craft. To that end, here are a few things you can be doing right now if you’re at a loss as to how to move forward.
I know this sounds ridiculously obvious but there is no substitute for writing songs to improve your songwriting. There’s a tendency early on in a writer’s career to wait for inspiration to strike before sitting down to write. This, in my opinion, isn’t the way to grow as a writer. Teaching yourself to write on demand is an essential skill. Not only that but, as I’ve said many times, songwriting is a muscle and the more you work it the stronger it gets.
If the hope is making money from your songs, it pays to remember you’re in the music business. As such, consistent efforts at networking, demoing your songs, educating yourself about publishing and music law and any and all other business related activities should be part of your daily routine. Here’s a hint. Start small so this doesn’t feel overwhelming. One business “thing” a day is a good start.
Last but not least, if you don’t get your songs out there, no one will ever hear them. Period. Plugging your own songs is not fun but it’s an essential part of being a professional songwriter. No one will care more – or do this better – than you can. Take advantage of pitch listing services like www.Taxi.com and www.RowFax.com and think of hiring a song plugger only as a second line of effort. It doesn’t matter how great your songs are; they won’t generate income for you if they’re not being heard.
No matter where you are on your songwriting career path, the above suggestions apply. But if you’re just starting out, these are critical things to keep in mind. If a staff songwriting deal is your goal, you have to behave as if you already have one in order to even get a publisher’s interest. The ability to write a song is a gift. Making a living from your gift takes work and dedication.