Most people assume that the best songwriters have some sort of hidden talent, where some profound lyric can be plucked out of thin air.
But I’m here to tell you that those assumptions are wrong.
The truth is that the secret to being a better songwriter is simply down to forming good habits.
Here are our top tips to get yourself into some good songwriting habits:
7 great songwriting habits:
I can’t remember who it was who said that the best ideas come from sitting in front of a blank page, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
The reality is that great ideas come when you least expect them; when you’re brushing your teeth, driving to the studio, waiting for a bus, or even when you’re asleep.
So instead of waiting to get your muse to come around, start a songwriting journal where you can jot down these ideas.
If you’re in a band, try to make it a habit to write down your ideas too. And solo songwriters should use a songwriting app like Chorus to quickly note down ideas whenever inspiration strikes.
It might seem silly, but with the right tools, you’ll be able to capture some ideas before they disappear.
It’s been widely reported that Ed Sheeran will write 4-5 songs per day when he’s working on an album. And whilst that level of output might seem excessive, one of the best songwriting habits you can get into is to simply start writing.
Stop worrying about waiting for the perfect lyric, and instead jot down some ideas. Whatever’s in your head is good enough for now.
With a first draft down, you can then fine-tune, edit, remove words, add new ideas. You’ll soon find that being less critical about every line, and more hands-on is a great habit for your songwriting.
There are some songwriters who deliberately don’t go asking for feedback, but this is a huge mistake. If you want to write songs that people will connect with, you need to know what they think first.
Instead, I’d recommend getting other people’s opinions on your songs, no matter how good or bad those opinions might be.
It’s important to be objective with your own songs, so don’t be shy about asking other’s for feedback. If you don’t have anyone around who can give you the constructive criticism you need, then it might be worth taking a songwriting class or sharing your ideas on Instagram and songwriting forums.
One great songwriting habit is to listen to your favourite songs, but also listen to songs you hate… because chances are, there’s something you can learn from them.
Nothing is more inspiring than an amazing song, but sometimes you need to get away from your own style of writing in order to grow and get inspired by something new.
No one has ever written a good song on two hours of sleep.
Songwriting is hard work, and it gets even tougher when your body is struggling to stay awake. There’s nothing worse than trying to get creative when your brain is numb from fatigue.
So make sure you’re getting enough sleep every night. Try to stick to a regular sleep schedule, and don’t stay up late to work on songs.
You’ll be much better off if you work on your songs when you’re rested and energised.
The more technology you have at your disposal, the more time you’ll spend fiddling with it rather than writing.
It’s very easy to get distracted when you have access to all kinds of instruments and effects, but really you don’t need anything more than a keyboard, a guitar, or a notepad
Being a great songwriter is probably something like 10% talent and 90% hard work.
The best songwriters I know just work really, really hard on their songwriting. They treat it like a full-time job, and are disciplined with when they start and finish work.
You may or may not have that killer instinct or raw talent. That doesn’t matter. If you’re serious about breaking into the music industry as a professional songwriter, there’s no replacement for hard work and determination
There’s no easy way to make it as a professional songwriter, but I hope that by sharing some of these good songwritiner habits you’ll have the confidence to start improving your workflow and writing better songs.
Hard work and perseverance will always pay off. Good luck!
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