4 Common Songwriting Mistakes – And 4 Fast Fixes

by Clay Mills
Sep 8, 2022

Are your songs not getting results?

Is that latest greatest song you’ve written not having the impact on your audience that you were so sure it would? Often the difference in a good song and one that moves the listener is a simple quick fix. Here are 4 fast fixes for 4 common songwriting mistakes.

Keep your intro under 15 seconds.

One of the most common mistakes in commercial songwriting is the long intro. As a rule, intros should be 15 seconds or less. You will only have the listeners valuable attention for a short time. It’s important to keep that attention and get to the meat of your song. 15 seconds gives you enough time to set the mood and groove of your song and whet the listeners’ appetite for more to come!

Point of view recheck.

Do a quick pronoun check of your lyric. If your verse is first person “You and I” then the rest of the song should not be “She & He.”  This seems like a basic idea but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen potentially great songs confuse the listener by mixing up pronouns. We’ve all done it and in most cases, it’s a really quick fix.

Fix this songwriting mistake by adding more furniture to your verse.

While feelings are an important part to any song, it’s important to set-up your song with enough details or “furniture.” As the songwriter we already know all the details of the story of our song and it’s easy to forget the listener has never heard our story. The listener needs to see as well as hear that story for the best emotional impact.

The Verse Shuffle.

Often by the time we get around to writing the 2nd verse of our song, we are much clearer on what our song is about. Look at your lyric honestly. Is the 2nd verse better? More focused? No problem, just make that your new 1st verse! And see if you can salvage a couple lines from the 1st verse to start a brand new 2nd verse. This simple reshuffling can many times transform a good song into a great song.

At the end of the day, songwriting at its best is a true art form. And while there are no hard and fast rules, these basic guidelines will help your song have a greater impact on your audience.

Write on! ~CM

Clay Mills

Clay Mills

Clay Mills is a 16-time ASCAP hit songwriter, producer, and performer. He is the co-founder of SongTown and has 2 Grammy nominations for “Beautiful Mess” by Diamond Rio and “Heaven Heartache” by Trisha Yearwood. Clay is also the co-author of Mastering Melody Writing and The Songwriter’s Guide To Mastering Co-writing.


Write Better Songs Faster

Songwriting Success is Clay & Marty's 10-day video series that will help you level-up your songs and finish them faster. Enter your email address to get started!

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.