As an aspiring songwriter, it is crucial you make the most of your creative time. It is easy to get distracted or to feel too busy to write, so we need to get back to the writing desk as often as possible. In this article, I’ll dig into 3 essential exercises that will help you be more prolific, focused and efficient. Each activity should last around 30 minutes.

Engage in Critical Listening:

Learn from the masters. Listen to songs that exemplify really effective songwriting. Refer to "Popular Lyric Writing: 10 Steps to Effective Storytelling" to understand the elements of lyric, melody, harmony, and rhythm.

For instance, we can break down the lyric into sensory language and storytelling structure. We can look at the melodic themes, the chord progressions and analyse how frequently the chords change. Listen to the same more than once, each time focusing on a different aspect.

Write Consistently

Consistency brings progress. It is important you cultivate your regular writing habit. Aim at three times a week at the very least. When you transform this into a habit, you will find yourself more often in creative flow. You can mix it up your to keep it fresh and interesting:

  • Start with a title and write an interesting chorus. 
  • As you go about your day, generate different song titles.
  • Go for a walk and reflect on a meaningful relationship. Record your thoughts.
  • Pick up your instrument and experiment with different grooves and chord progressions.

These activities will leave you with many song fragments, so devote one day per week to finish up your favorite fragment into a full song. Don't wait for inspiration. Instead, be determined to see a song come together. "Good enough" is better than perfect.

Give Your Songs Time to Breathe

Let your song rest for a while. Time will give you clarity and perspective. Work on multiple songs at the same time. This will help you feel a healthy detachment from individual projects, and new ideas will be more likely to emerge and flourish. Once you have a few songs drafts, you can select the top three and start refining and completing.  

Becoming an efficient songwriter requires both skill and time management. The combination of critical listening, consistent writing and giving your songs room to breathe will help you develop a creative process that maximizes your output.

Be open to new ideas, trust in your abilities as a songwriter, and focus on the journey rather than the destination. 

Most importantly, have fun!

Want more tips around songwriting? Check out my full course!


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