Songwriter Quicksand: Don’t Fall Into These Common Songwriting Traps

by Marty Dodson
Jan 9, 2024

Here are 4 areas of songwriter quicksand that are hard to get out of. Watch where you step!

1) The “I can’t play this for anyone until it’s perfect” quicksand.

I can’t count the number of people who have told me that they are not going to let anyone hear their music until it’s perfect. Guess what? It will never be perfect. Don’t PITCH your songs until they are great! But don’t be afraid to play your songs for other people.

2) The “My songs are better” quicksand.

If you find yourself saying that your songs are better than the ones on the radio, you may be sliding into a pit that is only going to leave you bitter and jaded. If multiple industry pros have heard your songs and told you that they aren’t ready yet, you need to listen. If your songs really are better than the ones on the radio, the first industry pros you play them for will jump on them like fresh baked Krispy Kreme donuts.

Songwriter Quicksand: Don't Fall Into These Common Songwriting Traps - SongTown on Songwriting Blog

3) The people just don’t “get” my music quicksand.

This one allows you to keep writing songs that don’t make sense or connect with people and blame the PEOPLE for it. It’s a brilliant strategy to make you feel better temporarily, but it won’t help you be successful. People only buy music they get, so if you hope to make money from your songs you have to learn how to write songs they get. It’s your job to write songs that connect, not other people’s job to work hard to “get” you or your music. If you make it clear and you connect with people, they will get it.

4) The “Furniture” quicksand.

You’ve probably read books that tell you to pack your songs with furniture. The truth is you also need to pack your songs with heart. And, if there’s too much furniture, there’s no room for heart and no one cares about your song. I always tell people to treat their songs like they treat their house. You don’t just pack furniture into your den until it can’t hold anymore. You put just enough furniture in to make it comfortable. Let that be the rule for your songs as well. Put enough furniture in to tell the story and make it interesting. That’s all you need.

Avoiding these 4 traps can make your songs better in a hurry. Watch those feet.

Write on! Marty

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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