The Writing Better Songs Checklist


Here are some ways to judge whether you are writing “better” commercial songs. No one of these measures alone determines “writing better,” but putting all of them together gives you a pretty good sense of your progress:

Are you writing more unique ideas?

Look at the songs you wrote a year ago compared to the ones you are writing now. Be honest,  are your titles more unique now? If so, you are moving forward.

Are you getting better responses to your music?

Getting great feedback from industry people is the ultimate goal. Are you getting better responses now compared to a year ago? If so, you are going in the right direction.

Are your songs structurally better now than they were a year ago?

Are you keeping the rhyme scheme consistent in all of your verses? Ask yourself “are my verses the same length?” Compared to a year ago, are you more consistent in regard to your song structure?

Do your songs today support your hook more effectively? A big item on the Writing Better Songs Checklist!

Are you staying on topic more now than you were a year ago when your lyric wandered all around?

Are your melodies more fresh and interesting?

Compare them to songs you wrote a year ago. Are you playing the same three chords and feels? Or have you branched out into more interesting melodies?

Are your rhyming lines getting better?

You have to be brutally honest here. We all tend to settle on our rhyming lines if we are not careful. Are your rhyming lines just as good as the lines they follow? You are moving forward if you can see a noticeable difference in the quality of your rhyming lines.

Can you tell a difference?

Can you tell the difference in songs you wrote recently and ones you wrote a year ago? If you have been making a lot of progress, you should be able to tell a difference. I suggest saving this writing better songs checklist assessing your songs with it on a regular basis.

All the best!  ~MD

Marty Dodson - pro songwriter/instructor - SongTown

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

13 thoughts on “The Writing Better Songs Checklist

  1. I feel my songs, as am I, are maturing. So many things in everyday life to write about and or from a different perspective. My hardest thing is to come up with vocal melody to flow with the music. Thanks.

  2. Marty,
    I loved going down the list, I feel like my songs have improved a lot as a result of implementing many of these ideas. This is a great reminder! I appreciate you posting.
    Jude Toy

  3. Being completely honest I do think I have progressed in all these area from a year ago. Thanks for throwing it right out there to consider.

  4. My style of writing has changed to more commercial. My old stuff was actually more intricate with time changes and odd chords. I wasn’t writing to sell, it was more personal reflection and thinking back to the time of King Arthur hehe

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