Now that we’re fast approaching the end of 2019, it’s time to really start focussing on your songwriting resolutions and goals for 2020.
I’ve put together a list of possibilities to consider when working out what your songwriting goals are for the new year. I’ll certainly be using this list for my own songwriting too.
Seems pretty obvious doesn’t it? Make the time to write more songs, blog posts, short stories, poems, journal entries even three pages of automatic writing as suggested by Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way…
Make part of your daily routine at least 30 minutes to do something remotely writing-centric and the writing habit will become second nature in no time.
This could mean play your instrument of choice more or, even an instrument you’re not familiar with. This (playing an unfamiliar instrument) alone leads to an increase in songwriting ideas.
It can also mean play in the child-like creative sense, being open to have some fun explore where a songwriting tangent can take you. It may require you to get your hands dirty to keep your creative mind challenged.
Creativity is supposed to be fun.
A songwriting routine that has an element of disciplined instrument practise or song rehearsal time in it can be very fruitful indeed. There have been many a time where a song rehearsal session turns into a songwriting session thanks to a happy accident.
When this happens run with it until you can’t run no more.
To become better at writing lyrics you need to immerse yourself into the written word and let’s be honest… We are all guilty in some way of not reading enough.
Read more books, poetry, stories, whatever you can lay your hands on. Immerse your own imagination into the imagination of another person and see what songs can come out of that combination.
Now is always the perfect time to go through your songwriting ideas archive, your works in progress folder or your pile of old lyrics and revise them with a fresh set of eyes, ears, heart and imagination. Perhaps the passage of time will spark some new songwriting ideas from the old.
Planning and organising your songwriting time and your songwriting space will eventually give you the freedom to create as you’ve eliminated aspects of worry that an unorganised person would have to deal with.
Personally I believe that the planning and organising component of your songwriting process allows all of the other “fun” stuff to flow much more effectively.
For me, the last three years have been one of the most productive for me as I had used that time to learn as much as I can about recording my music in my own home recording studio which has allowed me to record my songs and my songwriting ideas in a more professional environment.
Now I’m not saying that you have to go out and spend the money building a home recording studio but having something in place where the recording of a songwriting idea is in easy reach is very important to your overall productivity as a songwriter.
Whether it be putting your songs onto a distribution platform like BandCamp or, uploading your songwriting demos to SoundCloud, releasing your music online for others to listen to and comment on is so very important as a songwriter.
We write songs so that can be heard don’t we? Well, put them out there and see what the world has to say about them.
Whether you’re a performing songwriter or not, getting yourself out there and networking with other songwriters and other like minded songwriting and music industry folk is essential for your songwriting career.
You can do this with your local songwriting association or, you can join a few of the online songwriting forums or social media groups out there. Introduce yourself, make yourself known and you never know, you might just make some new friends.
Sometimes if you do too much of one thing you might stress yourself out and songwriters block may creep in the picture. Make sure you block out some time to do nothing or, at the very least something not songwriting related. Maybe take some time out to concentrate on your breathing and meditate, go for a walk or, find a nice corner and read a book.
Healthy body, healthy mind, healthy life… Nothing gets the creative juices flowing more than feeling good about yourself and the world around you. Feeling this way makes you want to put in the work needed to make your songwriting career grow.
Personally, I need to take a leaf out of my own book and exercise more as I know I’m more productive when I do.
The natural byproduct of networking more is that you’ll find other songwriters who will want to collaborate with you.
Embrace these collaboration opportunities with open arms and relish in the fact that some different songs than what you’re used to writing will be created from the experience. Two (or more) heads are better than one when it comes to writing songs sometimes.
Probably one of the most important skills that a songwriter must have at their disposal is the ability to “actively listen” to the world around them. I’m not talking about “hearing” the sounds of the world around you. I’m talking about “listening” to the world. There is a huge difference between hearing and listening.
Make 2020 a year of cultivating the habit of listening. When you are still, really listen to the world as if you’re trying to internalise the sounds inside of you.
When in a conversation with someone allow them to fully express what they want to say without interruption. Really listen to what they have to say while they’re talking and don’t succumb to the temptation of thinking what you’re going to say next.
Only by really listening will you fully understand the world in which you write your songs about.
What activity on the list above do you relate to and want to expand on the most in 2020? Is there anything that I have missed out on? If so, let me know so I can write about it in future blog posts.
In the meantime, I want to wish everyone a safe and creatively prosperous 2020. May it be everything that you want it to be and more.
Until next time, keep on writing,
All About Songwriting