Songwriters: 5 Tips To Keep Your Songs On Track

by Marty Dodson
May 22, 2024

Here are 5 simple tips that I use to make my songs better every day. Get in the habit of doing these things and your songs will be better than they have been before.

1) Map your song out before you write.

Write a simple, one sentence summary of what you want to say in each section of the song. If you are co-writing, work out the map with your co-writers. This gets everyone working in the same direction from the start. And it helps insure that you aren’t trying to say too much in your song.

2) As you write, check your song for pronoun use periodically.

Make sure you don’t start off talking TO someone and wind up talking ABOUT them or doing the reverse. That gets confusing. Make sure the “voice” of your song stays the same throughout.

3) Periodically check the timeline of your song as well.

Are you moving through time in a way that the listener can follow or are you jumping from past to present to future and back again? Be conscious of how your song is moving through time and you’ll write better songs.

4) When you record a work tape of your song, listen back and see if any of your lines phrase awkwardly.

Are there places where it is hard to sing or does it all flow smoothly? Singability is one of the factors artists look at first in a song. If the song is hard to sing or is phrased in a weird way, they don’t want to go out and sing it every night.

5) Re-write.

I’ve heard it said that “Good songs are written and great songs are re-written.” Unless you are the exception to the rule, almost everyone can make their song better by going back to it after a little time has past. Before you demo something, look at it with a critical eye and make sure nothing in the song can be improved. Before you spend your money, make sure the song is as good as it can be.

Those 5 tips can help you write consistently better songs. It’s all about learning to communicate clearly and effectively. That’s what separates a great writer from the pack!

Write on!


Marty Dodson

Marty Dodson

Marty Dodson is a multi #1 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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