Warning: Songwriting Is Addictive

by Marty Dodson
May 6, 2017

Time after time, I see the warning signs. It takes a trained eye to spot them, but even simple statements thrown out in casual conversation can reveal that a songwriter has crossed over from social songwriting to having a real problem. Statements like these are a dead giveaway:

“I think I need another guitar”

“That would be a great song title”

“We should write that”

“I woke up and wrote that chorus at 3 AM”

They sound innocent enough, but they reveal a deeper problem. This person is addicted to songwriting. When someone says something clever in a movie, you’ll see the glow on their faces from their phones as they try to sneak them out and type in a title to write later. Or they might be at the table next to you at a restaurant scribbling something on a napkin. Once you know what to look for, the addicts are easy to spot.

Or, perhaps you are reading this and you see yourself as I describe these people and their problem. You think you are hiding it, but those of us who know you already know you have a problem. The best thing you can do is to own it.

Some rationalize and say “No one has ever recorded one of my songs, so I’m not a REAL songwriter.” Or “I’ve only written a few songs, so I can’t call myself a songwriter yet.” These people are denying the problem. Being a songwriter doesn’t depend on OTHER people. It’s about you and the uncontrollable desire you have to put words to music. You can be an addicted songwriter WAY before you have commercial success.

Being able to say “My name is ___________ and I’m a songwriter” is the first step toward healing.

Once you own the problem, it can be managed, though it will probably never go away. Songwriting addiction is a chronic illness. You’ll have to figure out how to manage relationships, work and life in general along with the crazy urge you have to “just write one more”.

If you have read this far into this blog, you likely have a problem. Do us all a favor. Just own it and…….

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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