by Clay Mills
Jul 7, 2020
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned over my songwriting career is that my songwriting focus constantly needs tweaking. It’s easy to lose sight of the important foundational things and veer off into the worlds of negativity or procrastination. So I have a short checklist of things I remind myself of daily…
No matter what your goal is, learning to improve your craft will get you closer to that goal.
My SongTown co-founder, Marty Dodson, and I started our songwriting careers later in life than most folks. Heck, I didn’t even know there was such a thing until my late 30’s! I just loved writing songs! And although we are pro songwriters, we realize not everyone wants to be a “pro.” So we’ve never focused solely on the “pro aspect” of writing. That usually doesn’t work anyway.
Whether you want to just have fun or are looking for a big artist cut… improving your craft makes it a much better experience.
If you do dream of being a full-time songwriter, then do what real pros like Marty and I do. Focus 99% of your energy on learning something new about songwriting every day. And have fun doing it! We made it our mission when we started SongTown to bring you something of real educational value every day – from writers that walk the walk and love what they do. But remember, striving first to be a “pro” can get you distracted.
And, if you just wanna have fun? Great! Acquiring more skills makes it a more enjoyable experience when you write!
Co-writing with great writers will help your songwriting focus in specific areas.
I was blessed with instincts to write catchy melodies. But when I landed my first staff writing job, I was expected to write with all types of co-writers and artists. I knew that some of the artists I wrote with were not really lyric writers. So I needed to up my lyric writing game fast. So I made it my mission to co-write with killer lyricists like Tia Sillers (I Hope You Dance). Co-writing with her allowed me to see first hand what was important to a great lyricist! Co-writing taught me to be a better lyricist myself and eventually I was having hits with songs that I wrote the lyrics for!
Striving to be the best writer you can get you anywhere you need to go as a songwriter.
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