Songwriting

Songwriters: 5 Ways You Can Inspire Your Co-Writers

by Marty Dodson
Mar 22, 2017

I’m a firm believer that inspiration can fall down upon us like a gift from heaven. But I’m also a big believer in the ideas that hard work and preparation can create inspiration. The best songs I’ve ever written were born from some combination of those 3 factors. I can’t control inspiration that comes down on me like rain. I can control the hard work and preparation, so here are five ways I try to prepare myself so that I’m able to inspire the room when I co-write.

Great ideas inspire the room.

My goal is to always have an idea that makes my co-writers get excited. If I can provide that, I’ve started off the co-write with a bang. Great ideas inspire us to write better because we don’t want to “let the idea down”. It’s much easier to write a hit song if you have a hit idea to start with.

Positive attitudes inspire the room.

If I’m griping about the state of the music business or my lack of success in it, I’m bringing the room down. Conversely, if I’m excited to be there and excited to get to spend my day writing a song, I’m going to bring the room up with me. You don’t have to be fake, but choose to be positive and you’ll inspire the room.

Being prepared inspires the room.

I can’t count the times co-writers have come into the room and reported that they stayed out most of the night and were hungover. That’s a huge wet blanket to throw out. It lets everyone know right from the start that we are going to spend the day digging out of the hole that this co-writer put us in. On the other hand, if I come in rested and well prepared to write, I bring the room up. I have a routine that puts me in the best frame of mind to write. I try to get a good night’s sleep, eat a good breakfast, answer my e-mail, workout at the gym, grab a cup of Starbucks coffee and I get to the write a little bit early. If I can do all of those things, I’m bringing my best self to the co-write, so I try to “gift” my co-writers with my best self every day.

Giving 110% inspires the room.

If I’m obviously giving the song 110% of my effort during the write, it inspires my co-writers to do the same. If I’m continually checking my phone or surfing the web, I’m bringing the room down. I try to give my max effort and attention to the song and to my co-writers when we are writing. That inspires the room.

Making the song “king” inspires the room.

If I’m willing to let go of my “amazing line” because it isn’t the best line for the song, it inspires my co-writers to do the same. Dropping my ego and putting the song first communicates that what we are doing matters and that I won’t let anything get in the way of making our song the best it can be. That attitude is infectious and it challenges everyone to bring their best to the song.

Don’t wait on inspiration. Bring it!

~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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