Songwriters: 5 Ways To Write Smarter

by Marty Dodson
Jan 13, 2017

Here are some ways you can work smarter. If you work harder AND smarter than most people, you can be a force to be reckoned with!!

1)Write great ideas.

The better your foundation, the better your song. A great idea puts you way ahead from the very beginning. When I started writing, I worked on ideas 2 days a week and wrote 3 days a week. That paid off. I got the reputation for always having great ideas. It got me into co-writes I didn’t deserve to be in. And I wrote better songs because I had solid ideas. Someone recently said to me “You spend a lot of time talking about writing great ideas but most of the songs on the chart aren’t great ideas.” I pulled out the chart and showed them that half of the top ten songs had really creative ideas. The other half were mostly written by…drumroll……the artist. If you aren’t writing with the artist, you need to write great ideas.

2)Write high percentage songs.

Ballads are hard to get cut. Uptempo are MUCH easier. Sad songs are hard to get cut. Happy songs are MUCH easier. When you choose what to write, pick ideas that are going to have a broad appeal and that will be easier to get cut. At every turn, pick the option that gives your song the best chance of being recorded.

3)Writing for broad pitches.

If I can make a song work for male and female artists, I do that every time. I want my publisher to have as many pitches as possible for my songs. If my song would ONLY work for Katy Perry and she says “no” then I’m out of luck. So, I try to write it so that ANY female pop artist could sing it. Or better yet, so that any artist – male or female could sing it.

4)Don’t get distracted from writing.

Pitch meetings, writers nights, contests, and the like can be HUGE distractions that get your focus off what is most important – writing hit songs. Spend as much time as possible writing and writing better. That’s the best investment of your time.

5)Spend your money on getting better at writing…

And not on demoing everything you write. I wasted thousands of dollars demoing songs that never got cut. They weren’t good enough to get cut, even though they were my best at the time. I should have spent that money getting someone to mentor me and work on writing better.

Those 5 tips can add the “working smarter” element to your “working harder” and put you over the top.

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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