by Marty Dodson
Feb 24, 2022
Most songwriters find themselves in a complacent songwriting “comfort zone” from time to time. Personally, I find myself at times resting on a little plateau of my own making. I work really hard for a stretch and then I coast for a bit. When I find myself coasting, here are some things I do to challenge myself out of the comfort zone and back into active progress with my writing.
Shake up the calendar.
Sometimes I’m complacent because I’m writing ONLY with people I’m super comfortable with. Truth be told, it’s easy to coast when you write with people you are comfortable with. I find myself digging a little deeper to prepare when I write with someone new. So, I try to make sure I’m always adding new people to my calendar.
Try writing something outside of your typical box.
If you always co-write, write something alone. If you always write alone, try a co-write. Try writing to a funky drum loop. Write a topic that you’ve never written before. Try writing from the perspective of the opposite gender.
Write in a different place to free yourself from your songwriting comfort zone.
It’s easy to get in the comfort zone in your cozy little basement studio with the lava lamp and beanbag chair. Mix that up and find other places to write. Sometimes I find writing outdoors to be inspiring. Other times, I write on a co-writer’s patio. Changing up where I write helps me get out of the songwriting comfort zone.
Take a little time off to just work on ideas.
Every now and then I open up my hook database and nothing there is inspiring me. That tells me I’ve gotten too comfortable and haven’t been working hard enough to find great ideas. So, I take a day off just to look for great titles to write.
Spend some time learning more about your craft.
Nothing inspires me more than learning a new technique and applying it to a new song I am writing. Songwriting requires a lifetime of learning and growing. Clay Mills has a great list of 7 Books Every Songwriter Should Read. I’ve almost worked my way through them all.
Whenever you find yourself in the songwriting comfort zone, try these four ideas to help shake things up and get you back on track!
Write on! MD
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