by Marty Dodson
Apr 3, 2017
Clay and I often run into people who are doing all the wrong things in their pursuit of success with their music. Most of the time, the thing they need to be doing is improving their songs. That’s often the one thing they aren’t doing.
They are meeting with publishers and people at PRO’s (ASCAP, BMI and SESAC). They are trying to get co-writes with big writers. They play shows, hoping to get noticed.
But, the problem is that their songs aren’t good enough. No publisher or PRO rep can help you if you don’t have songs that are GREAT. Not good. GREAT.
If you get that writing appointment with a big writer and you aren’t up to writing at his or her level, you probably won’t get another appointment.
So, we find ourselves reminding people that the “secret” to success is to write UNDENIABLY great songs. You know the feeling you get when you are listening to the radio and all of the sudden, a song comes on that is way better than the previous song? It stands out because it is just flat out BETTER.
If you have songs that are undeniably great, it won’t take many meetings or shows for you to garner some interest. If you aren’t getting that interest yet, then just take a deep breath and invest your time and energy into writing better songs.
I tell people to start with ideas. Few great songs arise from mediocre ideas. Dig deep for great ideas. Find ideas that are unique. Challenge yourself not to write an idea that is ordinary. If you find a great idea, it’s easier to write a great song.
I also encourage people to read books on writing and to take classes. Stephen King’s book “On Writing” is a great book for writers. You can find classes on all kinds of topics that improve your writing. Our Master Classes and Crash Course series are designed to help writers improve all their writing skills. Lots of other places offer classes as well. Finally, the best way to improve your writing is to write more. The more you can write, the better.
I still have to come back to this advice over and over. If I get frustrated with my lack of success or if people don’t seem as interested in my songs, I remind myself that I need to write better songs. That’s almost always the answer. And that’s why we always say “write on”.
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