Great songwriting is all about mindset.
Yes, we need talent, skills, and a great reason to write, but how we think about songwriting, or anything else in life, is what drives the results we get from our efforts.
If we think songwriting is arduous and difficult, then such it is. If we treat it as emotional catharsis, we might feel better after writing them, but our songs probably won’t be very interesting to anyone else. But, if we approach songwriting with an overflowing attitude of energy, creativity, and resourcefulness, it will undoubtedly give us that and much more in return and make our songs more appealing to the people we hope to share our music with.
I’ve found that important mental shifts often begin with just one small decision to change something easy, like an attitude or a habit that I don’t want anymore. Tackle the easy stuff first and the harder things have a way of becoming easier.
As I think about my next year of songwriting, I’m adopting these three must-have mental shifts to elevate my mindset and make 2020 my best songwriting year.
Three Must-Have Mental Shifts
#1 ~ Practice one new skill per month. Throughout my career, I’ve found that I am pretty fluid with lyric writing. That’s because I love words and I’ve left a lot of the melody writing to others. A new skill for me, then, would be to learn something new about melody writing and practice it for 30 days to make it part of my songwriting tool kit.
Pick whatever you need to work on, but discipline yourself to improve your songwriting by adding skills instead of depending on the ones you already have. Remember: You’ve gotten to this level with what you’ve had, so getting to higher levels requires more skills.
Improving your songwriting means adding to your skills.
#2 ~ Make more time for daily reading and critical listening. Never stop reading the Bible, but consider switching up translations for some fresh language to draw from. Read a lot of what others have written, too, even beyond devotional topics. Learn to love language and soak in how others use it. Study the lyrics you love, paying attention to how they were crafted by the writers.
I’m always astounded when aspiring songwriters aren’t listening to a ton of music.
Listening gives you so many more options to choose from in your melodies and so many great song ideas happen while listening to other people’s music. Be more intentional to listen even ten extra minutes per day with a discerning ear. Actually think about how the songs are put together and ask yourself what makes them work.
Lack of time is the Number One excuse would-be songwriters make for not writing. Fear of not being a good one is the real reason.
#3 ~ Get honest feedback and coaching and stop kidding yourself about your songs. God made Moms to love our music, but no one else has to. The people who love you will tell you they love your songs, but most of them just don’t want to hurt your feelings or don’t really know what to think of them. They’re just pulling for you, right?
Real growth comes when you find someone who knows what they’re talking about to tell you the truth squarely about where your songs stand. NCS offers coaching, but you can also find a worship pastor or local songwriting group for honest feedback.
If you’re not attracting a significant following for your music, it’s time to stop kidding yourself.
Writing for pleasure or emotional outlet is wonderful on a personal level, but if you want to reach the world with your songs, it’s going to take a team of people around you to do it who are deeply in love with what you do.
Every super successful person has had some form of coaching. Once you decide how successful you want to be at songwriting, find the appropriate level coach to help get you there. You can read more about how we help songwriters level up their songwriting through powerful personal coaching here.
I always feel more energy and excitement in January. Maybe it’s like the clocks and possibilities are all reset somehow and I feel a fresh start. I learned a long time ago that resolutions are useless. Only changing my mind (see Romans 12:1-2) and renewing my mindset helps me accomplish what I really want. Use these three must-have mindset shifts to make 2020 your most amazing songwriting year ever.