HOW TO STAY FOCUSED ON YOUR SONGWRITING JOURNEY
How To Stay Focused On Your Songwriting Journey – Brent Baxter – 7-2-18
If you’re a professional songwriter living in Nashville, it’s pretty easy to keep your head in the game. It’s no sweat to keep your goals in mind because it’s in your face every day.
That’s very much NOT the case if you’re working a regular job in another town. Add to that any family obligations you may have, and it can be pretty easy to stop thinking like a songwriter. One day you might look up and realize it’s been two months or more since you’ve really even picked up the pen or guitar.
Yes, there are natural ebbs and flows to the creative life. And, yes, there are times when family needs will limit your writing time (I couldn’t do any co-writing for about 3 months right after Ruby Jean was born and Emily needed me at home every night). Hey, stuff happens.
But overall, you need to keep you head in the songwriting game if you are pursuing it as a profession. You can’t afford to take months off “just because life got busy.” You have to keep thinking like a songwriter. If you don’t, you’ll look up to find 20 years have passed without many songs and music business progress being made. And I don’t want that to happen to you.
Read on if you want to keep focused on your songwriting dream.
I want you to keep your head in the game. I want you to keep focused. And two things can help you do that: appointments and subscriptions.
Nothing will keep you thinking like a songwriter like actually writing. You and your skills get rusty if you don’t “keep the machinery up and running.” Trouble is, it’s easy to skip out on solo writing in the midst of daily life. Try to have a standing appointment with yourself, even if it’s just every other week. Hopefully, you’ll find some other times, too. But if nothing else, you (and your family) know that every other Thursday night is your writing time.
But don’t just schedule it. Actually show up, sit down and do the work!
Still, it’s easy to not show up for solo writing appointments. So try scheduling regular cowriting appointments. You might let yourself down, but you’ll probably be less likely to bail out on someone else.
Even if you don’t live around many potential cowriters, the internet is a wonderful place to find them. Facebook groups such as the Songwriting Pro Facebook Group and The CLIMB Community are good, non-spammy places to meet potential cowriters. And these days, writers are much more comfortable writing over videoconferencing platforms like Skype and Facetime.
Cowriting keeps your head in the game more than just during that write. You won’t just start thinking about the cowrite as you’re walking in the door of the writer’s room or logging into Skype. You’ll think about it ahead of time. The fact that you have an appointment coming up and a cowriter expecting you to take it seriously will encourage you to spend time gathering ideas, prepping, etc.
Books, online songwriting courses, and other resources are a great way to keep your dream in front of you. You may be in a season where you don’t have hours of time to sit down and write. Maybe your appointment is just that few minutes you have to read in bed. Well, reading that book (heck, just having it on the nightstand) will keep reminding you that you have a dream to chase.
Books and online classes will also give you tools to write better songs and make progress in the music business. And progress makes you hungry for more progress, so you’ll spend more time thinking and working toward that.
Workshops and other events can be very beneficial. You may find potential cowriters (and friends) at live events, and you’ll leave fired up and motivated. You’ll also leave wiser and with a few more songwriting tools in your tool belt. Plus, you’ll be in the company (in person or online) of other motivated, inspired and inspiring songwriters. Sometimes you just need to know you’re not alone.
If you’re on the market for a cool community with monthly online events at a super-affordable price, I happen to have one. It’s Frettie.com.
Get informed, educated, entertained and inspired- all from your email inbox. I humbly suggest SongwritingPro.com, which you’re reading right now. Subscribing here will send a few helpful posts directly to your inbox every week. But there are several other good blogs, too.
If you’re like me, you have more time for listening than you do for reading. And lucky for you, podcasting is exploding. This can turn your daily commute, jog or dog walk into a songwriting and music business workshop and inspiration refill!
There are several good ones, including Bobbycast, And The Writer Is, Made It In Music Podcast, Pitch List, NSAI Coffee Break, Songcraft, and one that I co-host twice a week, “The C.L.I.M.B.”These shows are each a little different, but they all give you a valuable insider’s look at the music business from a songwriter’s perspective.
YouTube is a huge search engine. Just do a search for “songwriting advice from hit songwriters” or something like that. You’ll have more to look at than you know what to do with. I can’t vouch for how accurate or authoritative everything will be. Actually, I can. Some will be GREAT. And some will be junk. But either way, it’ll keep reminding you that YOU are a songwriter.
Check out American Songwriter and Music Row Magazine, among others. Turn the hall bathroom into your own personal “inspiration zone.”
What about you? How do you keep your head in the game?