Who’s In Charge of Your Songwriting Destiny?

songwriting destiny - SongTown

I can’t count the times that I’ve heard a songwriter blame their lack of success on the radio, publishers, a “closed circle in the music business”, A&R people who “can’t hear a hit”, bad co-writers, just plain bad luck and the list goes on and on and on.

While any of those factors COULD potentially happen to hold a person back, the problem with that mindset is that it puts your fate in other people’s hands.  The truth is that all of those factors conspiring against you and happening at one time couldn’t PREVENT you from having success.  There are ways around all of those (and every other) issue one might blame for their lack of progress.

In fact, if you take that approach you are as helpless as a newborn kitten.  You’re waiting on “Momma Cat” to pick you up and drop you in the #1 slot on the Billboard chart.  And that’s not going to happen.

On the other hand, if you take the approach that YOU are in charge of your songwriting destiny, all kinds of interesting doors open.  You are able to identify obstacles, but are also able to find solutions that get you around them.  You have a sense of empowerment because you are now in control of what you do to advance your songwriting.

Taking the view that you are in charge of your songwriting destiny also keeps the door of learning open.  If you’re a victim of horrible circumstances, there is no need to learn.  The hand of fate would STILL be stacked against you.  But, if YOU are in charge, then you proactively do things to keep learning, because learning helps you advance.

It’s all in the mindset.  Those who are victims of circumstance will never succeed because they stop trying.  Those who control their own songwriting destiny move steadily down the road to success.  So, which mindset do you choose?


Marty Dodson

Marty Dodson - pro songwriter/instructor - SongTown

Marty Dodson is a seven-time #1 songwriter, co-founder of SongTown, and co-author of  The Songwriter’s Guide To Mastering Cowriting and Song Building: Mastering Lyric Writing

16 thoughts on “Who’s In Charge of Your Songwriting Destiny?

  1. Marty,
    I apologize that I don’ t have a copy of your books. I’m a little slow on the uptake so what are the names of the books, how much, and where can I purchase them?



  2. Your well-recognized and accepted philosopher’s hat so obviously worn here, as well as your legendary prowess as a songwriter and industry-wide educator {in Japan teachers are considered national treasures} are highly applauded and appreciated, Marty. You ought to write a book… oh wait, what’s this… you’ve written two of ’em? Both, of course, in my library and getting ragged from use. Every day this Town is getting to be a bigger dot on the map, thanks to the perfectly-paired Mayors we so enjoy at the helm. Write on brother. JB

  3. Fall in love and stay in love. Do what you love, don’t do anything else. Don’t write for money. Write because you love to do something. If you write for money, you won’t write anything worth #reading.
    —Ray Bradbury—

  4. Thanks Marty! This reminds me of an acronym that a friend of mine recently shared with me…it is from the word SHIELD…The S is for sleep, the I is for interaction with others, the E is for exercise, the L is for learning, and the D is for diet. I hope this helps.

  5. I could not have said it better myself Marty! Great insight … as expected from someone with your level of success!

  6. So true in songwriting and in life! Working as a psychologist before becoming a developing songwriter I remember the term “Locus of Control,” which refers to the extent to which people feel that they have control over the events that influence their lives. If you have an Internal Locus of Control that means you feel that you are in control of your destiny. If you tend toward the other end of the spectrum and have an External Locus of Control that means you feel others or outside circumstances control your destiny.

  7. So true Marty, not to mention that if you love working on your craft and strive to become a better songwriter and write better songs, where else can you have a more fun and rewarding experience? Write on.

    1. That’s it right there, Ave. Loving songwriting and wanting to get better at it. Not just wanting to get something cut or on the radio. Write on!

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