The Mindful Songwriter

by Marty Dodson
Jan 12, 2022

The world we live in is full of distractions.  With an unlimited supply of entertainment and information in our phones, it is becoming more and more rare to see someone just sitting, thinking and being fully present or mindful.

We walk in restaurants and 100% of the people sitting alone are on their phones.  Many people who are with others are on their phones.  My wife and I were recently out at a nice restaurant.  The table next to us was decorated with rose petals and hearts, had a corsage in a beautiful box and had special candles burning.  When the couple arrived, the woman was so excited that her man had thought ahead and arranged this special treat.  My wife gave me that look that said “That would be nice for YOU to do sometime.”

Within 5 minutes of sitting down, the man pulled out his phone.  The woman watched quietly for about 15 minutes, then she pulled out her own phone and began texting someone else.  They were both on their phones every moment that they weren’t eating.  I gave my wife a look that said “At least I’m being present with you.”  I won in the end.  Turns out, she would rather have me be present with her than to plan a romantic surprise.  I’m sure doing BOTH would be a grand slam, so I’m working on that.

All of that to say, being MINDFUL (present in the moment) can change your life as a songwriter.

Why?  Let me make the case:

  1. Being mindful as you go through life helps you notice the little things that slip by those who are distracted.  Being able to capture all of those little moments is the essence of being a hit songwriter.  If you see things others can’t or don’t see, then you have an advantage as a writer.
  2. Being mindful is a discipline that helps you focus.  I can’t count the number of times songwriters tell me, “I’m just all over the place.”  Creative people are all over the place because ideas just explode in our heads.  Mindfulness helps give order and meaning to those ideas.   Without PRACTICING mindfulness, most creative people don’t develop it as a skill.
  3. Being mindful helps you deal with the ups and downs of songwriting.  Songwriting can be an emotional roller coaster because everyone has an opinion of your work.  Without mindfulness, that roller coaster has the potential to destroy a vulnerable songwriter.

So, how do you become a mindful songwriter?  Here are some things to try:

  1. Meditate.  Even if it’s 5 minutes per day.  Spend time just being, breathing and celebrating being alive.
  2. Go for a walk.  Put the phone away.  Get outdoors.  Even just for a few minutes.
  3. Give yourself time to think.  Instead of looking at your phone in every spare moment, just sit and think.   Think about your writing.  Where you are with it and where you hope to be in 6 months.  Think about ideas you have been wanting to write.
  4. Do something with someone special.  When I’m with my grandson, because I’m an early riser, I take the morning shift.  My daughter brings him out to me and then she and her husband go back to bed.  I get to play with him for several hours.  I have realized that there is nothing on my phone more precious than the time I spend on the floor playing with him and showing him I love him.  Similarly, when my wife and I go on date nights, we put the phones away.  Just BEING with someone helps develop a mindful attitude.

If you practice the discipline of mindfulness for 6 months, I predict noticeable changes in your writing and I’d love to hear your stories of how it works for you!

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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