Songwriting

5 Disciplines of Songwriting Success: Setting Yourself Up To Succeed

by Marty Dodson
Mar 13, 2017

One of the biggest lessons I have learned in my years in the music business is that nobody wants me to succeed as much as I do. My publisher, my co-writers and my song pluggers all want me to do well. They are heavily invested in my success. But, at the end of the day, I’m going to have to do most of the heavy lifting if I’m going to succeed. Here are 5 things I I try to do every day to keep myself moving in the right direction:

1) I work on song ideas. I try to add at least as many ideas to my database each day as I use that day. If I write two songs from my list of titles, then I try to find two new ideas to replace them. That gives me confidence that I’m always going to have something good to write about.

2) I look for one new opportunity each day. I have a team of people that help set me up with great writing opportunities. But, I don’t leave it all to them. I try to think just like I did before I was with a publisher. I’m always looking around for new artists or writers to write with that I believe are going to succeed. If I can add one good opportunity to my calendar each day then I’m moving toward my goals.

3) I touch base with my “team”. I’m continually touching base with co-writers to talk about pitch ideas for our songs. When I hear that an artist is about to cut that I have a connection to, I call my co-writers and ask if they have any ideas for good pitches to that artist from our co-writes. I also talk to my song pluggers and ask them about upcoming meetings. Sometimes they know more about what artists are looking for than I can find on the pitch sheet, so I get a lot of good information from them. And, they are choosing songs to pitch from a catalog of thousands of songs. I know my catalog better than they do, so I will often suggest pitching certain songs to certain artists. They value my ideas and I get more songs pitched if I stay in touch with them daily.

4) I make the most of every day. I show up prepared for every co-write. By prepared I mean rested, in a good frame of mind to write and with lots of ideas. I give everything I have to every co-write. If someone cancels on me, I use the day to network or pitch songs. There are no wasted days. Every day, I’m doing something to move my career forward.

5) I enjoy myself. I try to practice gratitude every day. I’m getting to write songs. That is a gift. I try to soak it all in and enjoy the experience every day. I’m enjoying the journey and not just looking at a destination way down the road.

Practicing these daily disciplines helps me stay focused, it prepares me to succeed and it gives me a lot of satisfaction. I hope they can do the same for you!

Write on! ~MD

Marty Dodson

Marty Dodson

Marty Dodson is a multi-hit songwriter, co-founder of SongTown, and co-author of  The Songwriter’s Guide To Mastering Cowriting and Song Building: Mastering Lyric Writing

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