Five Common Songwriting Mistakes to Avoid

Girl writing songs with guitar on floor

Do you ever feel like the gears are slipping and you’re just NOT getting anywhere with your songwriting?

Hey, I get it.

Been there… bought the t-shirt, the bumper sticker, and the fridge magnet.

It’s not fun to feel like you’re not getting where you want to go, but sometimes the same old mistakes are what’s holding us back and calling them out reconnects us with our motivation and creative power.

Here are five mistakes I’ve learned to avoid in my songwriting. Maybe they’ll help you, too.

Five Common Songwriting Mistakes to Avoid

#1 Putting too many ideas in one song. There’s simply not room in a song for more than one idea. If you confuse, you lose. When listener’s struggle to follow one main idea throughout your verses and choruses and bridge, they’ll check out. Comb through your lyrics and remove anything that doesn’t point to your “OBI,” the One Big Idea.

#2 Shifting perspectives. Simply put, if you start your song in first person, stay there. Shifting the perspective/voice from singular to plural rarely works. Starting off with you as the “voice” then shifting from you to God’s voice is extremely tricky. Pay attention to whose voice you’re speaking from will keep listener’s engaged rather than confusing them.

#3 A highly introspective focus. If you’re a “touchy-feely” singer-songwriter all about sharing nothing but raw emotion, skip this one. Otherwise, a highly introspective lyric limits your listeners to your experience only and keeps them from putting themselves in your shoes, so to speak, and finding something to identify with in your song. Most popular songs are intimate, but not introspective. There’s a difference. Become more aware of when you’re writing words that no one but you and your cat could understand to win more listeners.

#4 Mismatched melody and lyric. Sometimes young writers pair melancholy words with uptempo melodies or styles. The opposite may occur, but supporting a happy lyric with a happy melody and musical approach brings about a more satisfying experience for the listener with less cognitive dissonance. Listeners will subconsciously bristle when the wires get crossed in this way, so avoid this common songwriting mistake.

#5 The no-genre approach. Odds are that you’re not going to create a new genre of music, so make sure your song finds its identity somewhere within known musical styles. I worked with a very talented artist who would blend a country verse with a Disney chorus and a Broadway-style bridge. It wasn’t until I coached him into consistency in his genres that the songs came to life and stopped confusing his would-be audience. Placing your songs well within genres only helps you and isn’t compromising your artistic nature and desire to be different. Pick a lane and stay in it to win more listeners.

Become the Songwriter You Long to Be

I learned about these mistakes early in my career when I was mentored by people like Bill & Gloria Gaither and so many more. Having them look at my songs and critique them (lovingly!) was invaluable and taught me how to connect my songs with a global audience.

Now, after over 400 published songs, I’m all about coaching and mentoring YOU to become the songwriter you long to be.

If you’d like to find out more, use this link to set up a free, no obligation Songwriting Breakthrough Call with us in the coming week. We have a limited number of calls available, so I encourage you to reserve one now while it’s top of mind and then get ready to write like never before!

Remember to avoid these mistakes and you’ll begin to build a bigger audience. Learn to communicate clearly and listeners will love you that much more.

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NCS Coaching is an eight-week online coaching and mentoring experience designed to help you grow to pro level songwriting. Utilizing proven songwriting methods that bring immediate insight and results, you can transform your songwriting and entire approach to creativity through this unique opportunity. Use this link to set up a free, no obligation phone call today.

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