5 Signs You’re Rushing Your Music Creation Process

A problem we talk about a lot in songwriting is perfectionism, an issue that keeps many music-makers on the sidelines and keeps them from creating their best work. But more and more songwriters struggle with the opposite problem, which is rushing ideas to completion and releasing them when they’re still underdeveloped. With how quick and easy it is to release music now, this is becoming a bigger issue for independent artists. While creating lots of music and sharing it with the world can definitely be rewarding for you and your fans, you aren’t doing yourself or anyone else any favors by rushing to get your songs over the finish line. Here are five signs that you’re not devoting enough time to your creative process:

Every song ends up sounding the same

Creative cohesion is one thing, but if each of your songs inevitably sounds the same, it’s a strong signal that you’re rushing. We’ve all experienced the magic that happens when a song comes together in a couple of minutes, almost as if it was always there just waiting to be discovered. But in the majority of situations, musical development is a long process of trial and error. It takes time to hear what works and what doesn’t. When all of your songs follow the same predictable trajectory, it’s a sign that you’re not doing the necessary work of letting ideas unfold and lead you to the process naturally. 

The performances on your recordings aren’t solid

You might have a solid song on your hands, but it’ll never live up to its potential if you boggle the recording process. Recording can be a massive undertaking, even for songs with simple instrumentation. Some days your performances will be spot on, but your takes will lack emotional depth and inspiration. Other days you’ll have the opposite problem. Easing into the recording process takes time, and the vast majority of musicians will never be able to nail their recordings on the first few takes. The fix to this problem is simple, but it takes a lot of discipline to give the recorded elements of your song the time and attention they need.

Your lyrics lack depth

Every songwriter approaches lyric-writing differently, and some view the words in their songs as secondary to the music. But regardless of how important you think lyrics are, audiences do care about them, and a bad line or two could be enough to make someone want to turn your music off. Unless it’s an intentional creative decision that falls in line with your identity as an artist, simply throwing words together and calling it a day shows you’re not putting enough time into developing the emotional character and story of your songs. 

Your songs sound boring

You can be a lot of things in music, but being boring all but guarantees that you’ll be quickly forgotten. Most songwriters don’t choose to be boring, of course. Our music is boring when we fill up musical space with whatever easy ideas we have lying around instead of exploring, taking risks, asking questions, and opening ourselves up to the possibility of failure. Writing predictable, bland music is a lot quicker than delving deep into the process and exploring, but doing so won’t give you the results you want. 

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You’re never satisfied with the end result

If you hate everything you write, it could be because your songs are chronically rushed and underdeveloped. Let’s take a moment to acknowledge how tricky it is to find the balance of spending way too long or way too little time finishing songs and albums. This is not easy territory to navigate much of the time. But never being satisfied with the music you make is a sign you’re not giving your songs the time they need to bloom into fully fleshed-out pieces of music that you’re excited to share. 

It’s not easy to slow down and focus on doing the work of developing your songs to their fullest potential. But a little patience goes a long way in songwriting. In many cases, you’ll find that more time devoted to your songs will result with music you’re much more invested in, and that’s crucial when it comes to advocating for your songs when it comes time to promote them.

Patrick McGuire is a writer, musician, and human man. He lives nowhere in particular, creates music under the name Straight White Teeth, and has a great affinity for dogs and putting his hands in his pockets.

Rebecca5 Signs You’re Rushing Your Music Creation Process

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  • KELVINGREAT - March 22, 2022 reply

    Well done brother. You really hit the nail. I was basically inspired by your writing. It was a eye opener. I actually felt from time that I wasn’t good enough nor getting things right, but you just made me access myself with those points you used in your illustrations and excellent explanation. You inspired me to be so confident in myself. So grateful. Much love

  • Rick Herron - March 22, 2022 reply

    Good advice, it is a job and should be treated that way. For me it is a job I love and which I have honed for sixty years. I am now dong my best work. Record the songs and let them sit for a while, ( most of my songs were written years ago.) They need to ferment like a good wine. Explore other instruments and music theory. Most importantly I suggest instrumentalists learn to sing to their songs as I find it is the hardest thing for most to do. This will allow one to learn to harmonize with their instrument melodies. Learn the chords and chord structure and then do a lead or base using the chord notes or a keyboard to mimic the guitar chords. It takes time but a new instrument often gives one creative inspiration.

  • Robert Timofai - March 23, 2022 reply

    I have to compliment you on your advice. Exactly what you suggest is exactly what I have done, I have let the songs that I have been submitting age like Fine Wines before presenting them to the public because like you said I have tweaked them and consistently gone over them regarding there instrumental tracks and even the vocals to be at Peak Performance. Now I feel that they are ready for public View. Oh, so I think that I have done the best I can with them and hope they perform well oh, thank you, Papa Bobby

  • Jesse - March 23, 2022 reply

    Yup those 5 are great reasons not to release new material however if you want real suggestions on how to eliminate these obstacles for FREE. Here’s my 2 cents that is worth exactly 2 cents but today it’s free so if it’s worth nothing so following these things is worth nothing too. #1 Challenge yourself to write next song in a different key than last one you wrote. #2 To get better performances on recording would require one or more of these, Practice till you sound like you want to sound on recording or Get better musicians to join you in studio including limiting your performance to your level of competency. #3 Why do lyrics require depth? What POP music songs on top 25 have depth? Your lyrics only need to gain attention so don’t waste time thinking your songs have to make a impact on the world or have some awesome message or insight. #4 Boring, hmm if that is where you are with your music why are you recording? Boring to who? if YOU think YOUR music is boring, you are probably correct. If somebody else says so, broaden the number of folks providing feedback for free or perhaps a paid service. If the most common feedback is you are boring try different lyrical topics or most likely check if you have a verse and chorus, vs endless verses, and is there a bridge? If just verses you probably need a compelling story and the obvious pressure on the vocal dynamics to attract and retain listeners. Would adding a bridge make sense? All this and more could be recommended if you are actually boring. #5 Last one is easy – If you are expecting the perfect anything your goals are too high. The best song you know, I believe the artist would tell you if they could make changes today they would. If you are suffering from elusive perfection I got nothing. Regardless of anything and everything that I have written here, if you honestly don’t think your stuff is good enough just as if you think you are boring What’s The Point? Good Luck and Much Love!

  • Jay-Jay - March 25, 2022 reply

    Yo This Your Boy Jay-Jay I’m going to writing my music, Can’t get money without Muscle

  • Man of Sound - April 10, 2022 reply

    Great article and I agree. I never rush my music, in fact I actually feel it when I know it is right. I also learned that if you listen to your song over and over for hours on end, your ears become tiresome and you become more inclined to lose thought and become overwhelmed. I spend roughly 1 hour at a time, take a break and come back to it. In a day it could end up being 4 – 5 hours but i never get tired or stressed and I am always satisfied with my end result.

  • Cosmo Key - May 8, 2022 reply

    When Da Vinci painted “The Last Supper,” he would leave after ONE brush stroke, and then he would come back and stare at his work for a good long time only to make one more small brush stroke. He repeatedly did this until the work was finished. Very good points have been made here. Take the much needed breaks (maybe not after you write one lyric, or place one note into your DAW,) but you get the point.
    As much as you hear the importance of releasing singles rather than full albums. I still love writing full albums. (And always will.) This allows you to let yourself take longer breaks between songs. Let your songs sit for a while before releasing them. You catch WAY more mistakes that way. Thank you for the great post.

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