Songwriters: Win or Learn

by Marty Dodson
Oct 18, 2016

Songwriters tend to have this “win or lose” mentality.  When I play my songs for someone, I either “win” and they take a copy, or I “lose” and they reject my song (and by default, me).

I would suggest that we look at those opportunities as “win or learn” opportunities.  Again, if they love my song and take a copy, I have won!  But, if they don’t, I have a chance to turn my “loss” into a “learn”.  Here’s how I do it.

Any time someone rejects my song, I ask a few questions, not defensively, but in a quest to learn WHY my song was not taken.  So, I ask questions like “What kind of song are you most looking for?” or “What might I have played you that would have caused you to jump out of your chair?”  I never want the person to feel like I’m making them defend why they didn’t like my song, but I DO want to find out as much as I can what would have increased my chances and helped my gain the “win”.

Any tidbit of information I can get helps me learn.  They might say, “We need uptempo and you brought a ballad” or “Katy won’t sing about being a weak woman”.  Both of those help me know what to try to write and bring in next time.

I’ve discovered that a “learn” can be just as valuable as a “win”.  If you’re continually learning, you’re always getting closer to the big “win” you are chasing.  And, the more I learn, the better I get at my craft.  Win or learn.  You come out ahead either way.

Write on!

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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