Songwriting

Fake It Til You Make It: A Pro Songwriter Shares Why It Isn’t A Smart Strategy

by Clay Mills
Sep 22, 2020

How many times have you heard it said that one must “Fake it to make it” or “Act as if you’ve already achieved your goal.”

Nice comforting quotes but not a smart strategy for chasing your songwriting goals. I remember starting out years ago, landing my first publishing deal as a staff writer in Nashville, and being asked to play a writers show with some quote “hit songwriters” at the famous Bluebird Cafe.

There I was sitting on stage swapping songs with bonafide pro writers singing their latest hits, while I played my songs no one had ever heard before. I kept telling myself “Act as If”…

Well, let me tell you that crap didn’t help a bit!

I didn’t have big songs for people to sing along to. No, in reality, those songs weren’t hit material and I knew it sitting on that stage. But what I did have was a burning desire to get through that night, go home, and write better songs! I used it as motivation every day to get a little better at my craft.

This is not a fast approach to being a successful songwriter, but it’s one that will work. I kept writing better and better songs, slowly and surely the hits did start to sing forth from my little Epiphone guitar.

It took about 7 years of writing full time to reach my first #1 song!

I learned instead of acting as if, it’s better to take an honest assessment and work like hell to get better. That’s what Marty and I try to give everyone in our MasterClasses at SongTown…. An honest assessment. A no smoke blowing zone.

I was lucky enough to get this from my first publisher and now I can walk onto the stage of the Bluebird Cafe and not have to act. I can share my songs with an audience that sings along because they know my songs from the radio…thats a feeling I hope each of you can experience someday!

Write On! Clay

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.

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