I believe that it is good for all songwriters to stay in touch with what made them want to write a song in the first place.
For me, here were some reasons that I put pen to paper and created melodies:
I had a crush on the girl down the street and wanted to write about her.
I believed that I had something to say.
It was therapeutic to write my feelings down in song.
I LOVED music.
I was infatuated with people who were able to write songs that people wanted to hear.
Now that I’m battling it out every day trying to get artists to record my songs and feed my family with my songs, it’s easy to lose sight of those original motivations. But, I’m convinced that writing songs with money as the primary motivator is NOT likely to lead to success.
Years ago, a friend of mine told me he was going to write a book. I asked him what he was going to write a book about. He replied “I don’t care. I just want a boat.” Needless to say, he never wrote the book and he never got the boat.
To be successful as a writer, you have to have something to say. You can’t just want to get rich.
The hit writers I know would be writing even if they didn’t get paid. There is another reason they are writing. The money is an added benefit, not the primary motivator for their writing.
Even if you are trying to write commercially, I encourage you to put that goal on the back burner and write songs that feed your soul. Write songs that go back to your original motivations for writing – before you even knew people could get paid for writing songs. I predict that if you continue to write from those places, you will write your best material. Writing for money tends to make people copy, cut corners and compromise. Those three C’s aren’t going to help you get ahead.
Just write. Enjoy yourself.
This week, challenge yourself to let go of worries about pleasing publishers, getting songs recorded or getting your music heard. Revel in the sheer pleasure of being able to write down your thoughts and put them to music. That’s where the magic lies. Never let it go.
Write On! ~Marty