Sometimes you can just never find the time.
And when you do have free time on your hands, it’s not used productively so you feel like you’ve wasted this rare moment being unprepared and unorganized.
Well I say NO MORE!
Below are eleven songwriting tips to assist you in your quest for the perfect solution to being more productive with your songwriting.
Read and enjoy the post!
Become a productive powerhouse with these 11 songwriting tips
11. Reward completion
After I’ve completed a task I tend to feel pretty awesome. The more I complete the more awesome I feel.
Reward yourself when you complete a task.
It could be completing a melody, a set of lyrics or the production of a song.
Either way it doesn’t matter how small the reward is (mine is usually 5 minutes snoozing in bed or a tasty snack), it’s all about the state of mind you get into to achieve results for the reward.
10. Designate a ‘creative time slot’ to your day
Schedule time to write, even if it’s just 15 minutes.
You can’t schedule creativity, however you can schedule in a repetitive process to get you into a creative mindset.
If meditation unlocks your imagination, then schedule some time each day to meditate and straight after try writing lyrics. If going for a walk helps your imagination come to life, then schedule some time after you’ve been for your daily walk.
Experiment with different activities which make you feel different emotions then try creating after it.
9. Be prepared
Creativity strikes and you can’t find a pen, your phone is nowhere to be seen and you’re rummaging through boxes and drawers trying to find paper.
Not a situation you want to find yourself in.
Keep a notebook or phone on you at all times, so when creativity hits, you’re prepared.
I keep a notebook next to me on my desk so if I feel inspired halfway through some unrelated work I can quickly jot down my thoughts.
8. Take a new approach to writing
We form habits, which sometimes can be great. However, on the odd occasion routine can lead to stale results.
Try creating the opposite way round to your norm. If your workflow is lyrics, melody then chords; try chords, melody then lyrics.
See how a change in workflow affects your outcome.
7. Set your foundations first
I’ve had many occasions where I’ve written an awesome chorus, got super excited and headed straight for the melody next.
A few days later I come back to the chorus, which at this point doesn’t really have a back story and get an idea for some cool FXs to add. Then I get an idea for a funky drum fill.
A month later, I still don’t have completed lyrics or a completed melody, just a lot of patches of random sounds and rhythms I like.
Now I’m not saying this is bad, because when you feel creative you follow the natural flow of your mind. However, in terms of productivity this is a mess.
Think of creating a song like building a house, you’d build your foundations first, then start building the structure for the house, and aesthetics would come last.
What I tend to do is focus on a first draft of the lyrics, then a chord progression and lastly the melody. Once I have all this, I then work on my second draft, refining what I already have.
Once I’m happy I would then work on specific sounds, harmonies, and fillers I’d like in my song.
6. Don’t let success be a factor in your creativity
Be open minded about what you create and where it may lead.
You may follow all the rules and write the perfect song for mainstream consumption however, this doesn’t mean it will be successful.
Creating a great song isn’t the only factor for success. You also need to build yourself as an Artist in your community and online to gain visibility.
So don’t get caught up if a song you wrote doesn’t perform well. This isn’t a reflection on your songwriting ability.
Some songs go viral, and some don’t.
Talent is never usually a factor, and as we see in music today, talent can be very subjective.
Sometimes luck, having the right connections, or working your ass off promoting can make a huge impact on its success.
5. Not feeling creative? Don’t force it.
Creativity is best served freely.
You’ll find forcing creativity will most likely end in taking twice as long in completing a task but also the result will feel less genuine.
Instead of forcing creativity, get your mind into a creative state.
4. Create everyday – practice makes perfect
Writing everyday may seem like a challenge, and it most likely will be. But the more you practice the easier it will get.
Now, I don’t mean to write a full song everyday. That would be overkill.
Spend 15 minutes doing one of the following everyday:
- Write a pair of rhyming couplets
- Write a blurb to a story
- Describe your surroundings including sounds and smells
- Create a melodic 4 bar riff or a motif/lick
They don’t have to be used in a song, it’s purely for practice. However, create a database collecting all these daily practice sessions as they’ll be handy for inspiration.
3. Collaborate with others
Two heads are better than one. The more the merrier. These aren’t just sayings, they’re true.
Songwriting can be a lonely activity when you start out. You have your ‘special place’ where you create and the only person making the input is, just you.
Collaborating with others is a great way to socialise with other like minded people, but also to see how others work. There is never a ‘this method only’ when it comes to songwriting, everyone has their own workflow.
Collabing can make the progress of a song move quicker as well. You bounce ideas off each other and if one of you has writers block the other can jump in.
If you collab with an experienced producer this can make the production side of creating a song run unbelievably smoothly.
You don’t have to collaborate with songwriters in terms of lyricists or topline writers. You could connect with a guitarist to create a song, they could write a riff or a solo, and you could write the lyrics and melody, then jointly you’d work on a chord progression. Or perhaps you’ve written a song but want a funky sassy saxophone solo, then connect with someone who plays the saxophone and see if they’d like to collab.
2. Ask for feedback
Constructive criticism is great because it allows you to improve your writing technique.
When you’re writing lyrics or creating a melody you want your listener to be able to understand the story but also get your tune in their head.
Not everyone will like your music, even if you aim for creating Pop music.
However, if your lyrics don’t make sense and your melody is completely random with no consistency, the listener will most likely give you negative feedback regardless.
1. Limit your creativity
With the endless pieces of software and tools available today, it can be overwhelming to be productive with a song.
Especially when you’re too busy debating which synth out of the thousands to choose for your chord progression, that a few hours go by and you’ve made no progress.
On the other end, creating a masterpiece has no time limit. Spend as much time as you want perfecting a sound or finding the perfect sound.
But how much is too much time?
Only you can answer that.
However, I recommend that you initially limit your tracks/layers in your DAW. Keep your foundation simple and easy to replicate, this’ll enhance your productivity.
Singer-songwriters may only have a few tracks such as one instrument (usually piano or guitar playing chords or a repetitive melody) and their vocals. Bands may keep it simple by having a 5-piece drum set, bass guitar, electric guitar and vocals. Electronic music creator may start with a kick drum, 2 synths, bass synth, piano and a rise and fall effect.
What I’ve started doing is having my foundations as a maximum of 2 synths (one for the verse and the other for the chorus), a bass guitar and synth, an electric guitar, piano, 5-piece drum set and 4 tracks for vocals – in total 15 tracks. Once I have that completed I can choose to expand if I feel it’s required.
It’s your turn
Now it’s your turn to try out some of these songwriting tips to enhance your productivity.
We can’t pause time, however, we can be better prepared to use our time wisely to the best of our ability.
Hopefully these tips will enhance your chances of creating something awesome.
Good luck, and get creating!