by Marty Dodson
Jun 1, 2017
I had a few minutes alone in the quiet the other morning and I started thinking about all of the different ways songwriting has changed my life. Some of those changes are the result of being successful as a songwriter, but the biggest, most profound changes are ones that were simply the result of writing songs.
So, in no particular order, here are the ways songwriting changed my life:
It opened my eyes to a larger world and my place in it.
In the beginning, my songs were very self-serving and self reflective. I wrote about the people, places and emotions that I knew. Unfortunately, my world at that time was very white, very lower middle class, very religious and very homogenous in almost every way. I had grown up around people just like me. That did not provide me with a lot of interesting things to write about. Songwriting introduced me to people from all over the world with world views that challenged and tested my own convictions. And I learned that to be successful as a songwriter, my songs could not be self serving. I had to serve the listener and touch them with universal emotions and ideas that were far bigger than the bubble I had grown up in.
Songwriting helped me learn who I wanted to be.
Through being challenged and stretched, I changed for the better. I learned not to fear people who were different or thought differently than I did. I learned to seek out opportunities to be uncomfortable because I saw that those were the times in which I grew. I am a better person because of the many varied people that I’ve written songs with.
Songwriting taught me that I have a voice and that my voice is valuable.
I grew up in a difficult family situation that often seemed hopeless and out of control. As I child, I knew that I was powerless to change the things happening in my family and over time, I gave up my voice because speaking up caused extra drama and trouble. Over time, I learned that giving up that voice was not a good thing. Songwriting helped me regain my confidence in myself and the worth of my thoughts and feelings.
Songwriting has taken me all over the world.
I’ve been to Spain, England, the Bahamas, Vancouver, Toronto and around 35 U.S. States that I had never visited before becoming a writer. As a child, we went on two family vacations. One about two hours away in Crossville, TN and one to visit my Aunt in Atlanta. That was the extent of my travel growing up. Songwriting has shown me places I would never have seen without it.
Songwriting taught me to feel what I feel and to express it.
I’m a better communicator in all of my relationships because I let myself feel things and I talk about them. I owe that to songwriting because it opened the floodgates for me in so many ways.
There you have it. I could list others, but these are the big ones. I’m guessing that songwriting has changed you as well. I’d love to hear about some of the ways songwriting has improved your life or changed you for the better. Leave those in the comment section if you’d like!
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