Music Business

Songwriter Write-Up-Itis: Do You Suffer From This Common Illness?

by Marty Dodson
Jan 25, 2024

Clay and I continually run into people throughout SongTown territories that have songwriter “write-up-itis”. We can spot the affliction immediately because we have both battled this dreadful and potentially fatal disease in the past.

The symptoms generally start after you write the first song that you think is really commercially viable.

A slight fever starts to develop. You get what I call “the bug”. The bug leads to hallucinations. You see yourself driving along in your car when you hear a familiar intro come on the radio. The RADIO. Not the CD player. The real live FM radio!!!! The intro fades into an opening line that you would know anywhere. You wrote it. A SUPERSTAR is singing it. Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, Rhianna, Kenny Chesney.

You pull over and just soak in the moment…

Then, the guy behind you starts to honk and you are jolted back to reality. That’s not your song on the radio. It’s another one written by Mrs. X, the hottest writer in town. “The bug” is eating away at your brain. You decide right then and there that writing with Mrs. X is your ticket to success.

The next symptom kicks in. Stalking.

You find out where Mrs. X lives and you drive by her house occasionally. In braver moments, you slow down by her mailbox and practice the motions of slipping a CD into the box, closing the door and racing away before you are caught. If you are able to resist the “cd drop”, you drive back home pondering other ways to get to Mrs. X. Then it hits you. The grocery! Everyone goes to the grocery. You lurk in the grocery nearest her home, hoping for a sighting. If this brings no results, you decide to find out if Mrs. X is playing any shows in the near future. You find one just two weeks away! “Eureka”, you think!!!

Songwriter Write-Up-Itis - SongTown

I will go to her show, compliment her music and ask her to write after the show. “No one has ever thought of that!!!”, you tell yourself!

The bug is slowly eating away at your brain. In the quietness of your home, you look around at the walls that are bow plastered with pictures of Mrs. X. You realize that two weeks it too long to wait. You are in the final stages of “write-up-itis” and you turn to the dark side. Cyber stalking.

A serious stage of Songwriter Write-Up-Itis is when you feel compelled to send Mrs. X a Facebook friend request.

Slowly working your way into her world, you send her a compliment – “I love your writing.” Minutes pass with no response, so you send another – “You’re one of my heroes”. And you wait, and you wait. The Songwriter Write-Up-Itis fever is growing…

Thus the story goes. The ending is too ugly to share. But, the point of the story is this. You have opportunities to write with very talented people right where you are. The key to this business is NOT figuring out how to “write up” every day with a big hit song writer.

There is no crazy thing you can think of to do that hasn’t already been tried.

And, if you spend all of your time stalking hit writers who aren’t likely to write with you anyway, you miss the GREAT opportunities that surround you every day. I heard an AWESOME song this week written by 3 SongTown writers. They took advantage of the opportunities they had right where they are. If you want to find “the cure” for “write-up-itis”, check out the tips below. 5 ideas for finding opportunities where you are. Write on. Not UP.

The Cure For Songwriter Write-Up-Itis

Here are things I would do to take advantage of opportunities around me instead of trying to hit up hit writers for a co-write.

1) Contact the people on the SongTown Most Wanted List each month. Get to know them. See if what they do would compliment what you do. Ask them to write.

2) Get involved in the forums on the SongTown website. It’s a great way to get to know people and you can get a good feel for what they do. Many of our member have landed staff writer deals with publishers and will write for major artists. You can get in early with them!

3) Look up profiles of other writers on SongTown. Listen to their music. If you find some music you like, contact the writer about getting together for a co-write.

4) Look around you. There are bound to be writers you already know that are talented. Just because they don’t have a deal, doesn’t mean they aren’t GREAT writers.

5) Get involved on the Facebook page. Make comments. Get to know other people. Put yourself out there.

Take the initiative. Each of you can find talented people to write with if you look AROUND more than you look UP. Write on and stay away from Songwriter Write-Up-Itis!

Write on! MD

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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