Songwriters: Are You A Naughty Or Nice Co-Writer?

by Marty Dodson
Nov 27, 2015

We get a lot of questions in regard to co-writing etiquette. Since the holidays are coming up, it’s important to know whether you are on the “naughty” or “nice” co-writer list. Here are some real life experiences I (or friends of mine) have experienced.

Naughty Co-Writer #1

This guy takes a phone call during the co-write and stays on the phone for more than 5 minutes without explaining what is going on. Usually, he leaves the room, so you don’t know where he is and if/when he is coming back.

Nice Co-Writer #1

Apologizes for his phone ringing, explains that it is urgent and comes back to let you know if he is going to be a while. Communication keeps him in the “nice” category.

Naughty Co-Writer #2

Goes home and finishes the song on her own. Sends it to her co-writers with a note that says “Here you go. We’re done. Hope you like it”.

Nice Co-Writer #2

Goes home and starts to work on the song. She has a creative burst and just “writes all over herself”. She e-mails what she came up with to her co-writers and says “I just couldn’t help myself and all of this came out. I’m not married to any of it, and would love your feedback on this.” Notice a pattern here of two-way communication?

Naughty Co-Writer #3

This co-writer’s favorite phrase is “I think we can beat this”, although he never offers an alternative to try and beat it. He is continually shooting down the ideas of his co-writers, but never really offers anything constructive.

Nice Co-Writer #3

This guy only says “I think we can beat this if he is going to offer up some suggestions that might actually beat it. If not, he thinks about it until he comes up with an alternative. He realizes that you only get so many “I think we can beat this” statements before you are told to “Beat it” yourself. Literally, as in LEAVE!

Naughty Co-Writer #4

This lady only likes her ideas. The real reason she is writing with you is because she needs someone to tell her that she’s wonderful. She’s not going to listen to or consider your ideas, but she will gladly accept any praise you offer for her work.

Nice Co-Writer #4

This one wants to get the best ideas in the room, wherever they come from. She doesn’t need her ego stroked. She just wants to write the best song possible and will consider every idea as it comes.

So, check yourself out against that list. Are you getting gifts or coal for Christmas? It’s up to you!

Marty Dodson

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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