When it comes to pursuing a career in songwriting, there is very little room for songwriters to indulge in stereotypical “artistic” behavior. The reality is that flighty, irresponsible and disorganized creative geniuses rarely have any significant commercial success. Being organized yields measurable benefits above and beyond the obvious ability to find a pair of matching socks. Below are a few important reasons why it’s worth your while to stay organized as you pursue your songwriting passion.

Organization for Songwriters

1. You’re running a business

I feel like I end up saying this a lot but if you’re hoping that people will actually give you money for your songs, then you’re not just an artist, you’re a business person. The grim reality of businesses is that they don’t run themselves. Staying organized by tracking deductible expenses, managing your copyrights and a thousand other things will only make your business (and your career) run more smoothly. Also keeping a current backup of computer hard drives is another thing that businesses do to prevent catastrophic data loss. To make it more personal, song ideas are precious and losing them because of a hard drive crash is not only tragic but unnecessary.

2. Inspiration can accessed

The difference between writing a song when all the planets line up versus writing songs every day comes down to being organized. Keeping track of your inspired songwriting ideas, snippets of melody and titles in a way that allows you to go and find them, will allow you to more consistently create even if the magical inspiration isn’t immediately accessible.

3. You’ll avoid missed opportunities

Keeping folders on your computer of your song demos, lyric sheets and anything else related to your songwriting, will enable you to find – and exploit – your songs quickly and efficiently. On a very personal note, my first major label cut almost didn’t happen because the artist was in the studio and couldn’t find the demo we’d sent them. Because I was able to quickly find and email an mp3, the artist cut the song in the studio that afternoon. I can’t imagine how disappointing it would have been if I hadn’t been able to find the song until a day or two later when the opportunity had come and gone.

Organization for Songwriters

4. You’ll be more productive

So much of being a professional songwriter is about getting the maximum amount done in the limited time you have to do it. If you’re constantly rooting around on your computer looking for partial song lyrics or instrumental mixes of certain demos, you’re not making the kind of progress you could be. Staying organized can take you a long way towards being productive and, ultimately, successful.


It should be understood, of course, that there is no substitute for writing great songs. Unfortunately, there are many, many songwriters capable of writing great songs. The way to differentiate yourself is to not only create great music but also keep yourself and your songs organized in a way that will allow you to take full advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. By improving your odds of success, staying organized might be the deciding factor in sustaining a career in the profession you love.

Good Luck!

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9 responses to “Four Compelling Reasons Songwriters Should Be Organized”

  1. Isabelle McClorin says:

    Thank you for the tips although I never called myself a songwriter I just write down songs I hear in my head or in the wee hours the Lord will wake me up and give me songs to write also sing them to minister them, someone said to me you are a songwriter i wrote many songs

  2. Anthony Torres says:

    Still working things out. This advice is inspiring thank you.

  3. Rebecca says:

    This is very inspiring and I’m in the process of getting organized. For some reason I have SUCH a difficult time achieving organization…it’s depressing.

  4. I’m currently in the process of organizing and backing up 25years worth of lyrics and songs. Thanks for the advice!

  5. Tyler Morger says:

    Thanks for the insight Cliff.
    I have to get with the times and use a computer. I keep all my stuff in notebooks like a caveman.
    I know how valuable the time is and you explained why organization is crucial.

  6. Amy K. says:

    Thanks, Cliff. During society-wide “Stay At Home” our organization levels are kinda on display via Zoom. De-cluttering one space or corner or drawer or closet really does provide motivation for others. Now that I’m caught up with laundry, I’m hurrying to sort the home office … before laundry beckons again.

  7. Dick Karg says:

    Thank you for the reminders Cliff. Your ongoing stream of tips keep me pointed towards the big thinking achieving song writing success requires. Managing to systematically stay organized is such a helpful strategy. Truly helps being ready to pursue opportunities.

  8. Tom Treanor says:

    You are a brilliant thinker, Cliff. Fortunately, you are also a brlliant writer. So you are the whole package!
    I delete, delete, delete – except I don’t delete your blogs.
    Tom Treanor

  9. Thank you Tom! You spoil me! I hope you and June are well!

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