Songwriting

Turning Time On Your Hands Into Better Songs

by Marty Dodson
Apr 14, 2020

Years ago, I had a big write scheduled and it got cancelled the morning of the write. One of the biggest writers I had ever written with traded me for a co-write with Cher. I couldn’t blame him, but I was very let down. My publisher said “Turn time on your hands into better songs.”

Say What?

I didn’t know what he meant, so I asked for clarification. He said “If you’ve got time on your hands you can ‘kill it’ or you can do something to help you write better songs.

He was kind enough to give me some concrete “time on your hands” ideas to help me improve. I’ll pass them along to you here with some of my own added:

Look For Ideas

Better and more ideas mean better songs. Search for quotes about life, love or other popular song themes. Don’t wait for an idea apple to fall on your head, actively spend time LOOKING for them.

Organize Your Ideas 

I use a database app called Airtable, but any database will work. It syncs my ideas to all of my devices and makes it easy to find them when I need them. I can search my titles by topic, title, or co-writer if I want to write an idea with a specific person.

Read A Book On Songwriting

Time on your hands isn’t wasted if you learning and growing in your craft. Find a book on a topic that you want to improve on. Clay Mills has a great blog on 7 Books All Songwriters Should Read. You can find books on many songwriting topics to help you make the most of time on your free time.

Blueprint Some of Your Best Ideas

Going into your next co-write MORE prepared always gives you a better shot at something great! If you don’t know HOW to blueprint your songs, there are videos in the SongTown Learning library to help you out.

Take A Class Or Watch A Video Online

SongTown has a number of self-guided courses free to all members. Also, hundreds of hours of instructional videos by dozens of pro songwriters. By my estimation, we have enough video content on the SongTown website for you to watch NON-STOP for 29.16 days. That should help if you have LOTS of time on your hands.

Read A Novel By A Great Author 

Reading great writing helps your songwriting even if the book isn’t about songwriting.  I have gotten many song ideas from reading books that weren’t about songwriting but were written by real great wordsmiths.

Don’t Kill It!  Use It To Write Better Songs!

So, if you’ve got time on your hands, turn it into better songs by improving your skills instead of just killing it!

Marty Dodson

Marty Dodson

Marty Dodson

Marty Dodson is a multi-hit 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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