If you’re reading this, you probably love making music but struggle to fit it into your daily life. Maybe you’re young and are tied up with a full-time non-musical job, or are in your thirties with a young family. Or, you have always wanted to pursue music seriously, but could never find the time. The truth is, you can make music creation a priority in your life regardless of your age, busy schedule, and musical experience. It just takes some planning and dedication.
Goals first, schedule next
Vague desires like “I want to make more music” or “ I want to try songwriting” aren’t clear enough to bring music creation into your daily routine in a lasting way. Write down a short list of realistic goals you want to accomplish in music, whether it’s writing and recording your first song or writing fifteen songs over the next three months for an upcoming album. The type of goals you have will tell you how much time you need to devote to music creation in any given week. If you’re trying to write and record your first song, for example, devoting a few hours a couple of days over a span of two weeks should do the trick. If you plan on writing fifteen songs within three months, that’ll definitely take up much more time and effort.
The more time you devote to music, the more you’ll get done. If time isn’t something you have a lot of, try setting aside as much time as possible as often as possible instead of freeing up eight hours in one day a month just for making music. You’ll be able to develop your skills better with frequent and consistent practice, rather than lumping all your available time together into big chunks. Even 15-minute writing sessions can be fruitful, as long as you’re consistent.
The real trick for consistent songwriting comes down to carving out a time during your week that you can devote purely to music creation and not anything else. If you do this long enough, even short writing sessions will eventually add up to big changes in your musical life. Doing this requires sacrifice because saying yes to making music over and over again, week after week, means saying no to other things in your life that are important to you. But if you know you want to pursue music seriously, doing this is well worth it. Once you cross off a goal on your list, replace it with another one.
Creating in a clean, distraction-free place
If you can, designate a place to create in that’s clean, quiet, and easy to work in. This could be a room in your house or an outside music studio. The easier it is to access your instruments and recording equipment, the easier it will be to make music regularly in your daily life. Once you have a dedicated music creation space, the battle becomes removing distractions when you work. This means turning off your phone and doing nothing but making music during the times you’ve scheduled.
All of this takes a lot of work. But if you know music creation is something you want to be a regular part of your life, it’s the kind of effort that pays off in big ways.
Adeola Adediji - August 25, 2022
Thank you for sharing. It’s quite helpful. I want to be able to create my own music but too many things contending for my time. With this , I think it’s possible.
John - September 8, 2022
I get the reason for these blogs, they are more about pumping people up, and an affirmation of their efforts than sound advice. Where as a distraction free well organized room is a must, there is a heck of a lot more that goes into song writing than just allocating time.
I’ll start on a positive note, saying that I believe every person has at least 1 hit song trapped inside them, but I also know that there are obstacles that stand in the way of extracting it, as well as the myriad of other ideas bouncing around ones head.
The younger you begin writing, the chances are better that you will remain dedicated to this craft, the older you start, the more things that stand in your way. I.E. , spouse, family, job, social life, and seemingly endless expenditures to maintain a life you’ve grown accustomed to. Good intentions don’t get you from point A to point B, so don’t set yourself up for failure.
If you want to be successful as a songwriter, you really have to abstain at least for a time, from all of the above, focus on honing your craft and exercise your skills not only a couple hours a day, but treat it as your 8+ hour a day, regardless of pay, how you feel on any given day physically, emotionally, and regardless of success which in all likelihood may never happen. When you are not gigging, you had better be holed up writing.
Lastly, the advice I never hear in any of these blogs, is “Do not follow musical trends, be yourself” , even if it puts you at odds with the current trend or band mates.
It’s easy to be a parrot, copying what you hear, but chances are by the time you get good at what you are mimicking, the world has already moved on to the next big thing. It’s okay to bend/blend genres or borrow from them, but
your job as song writer is to be the NEXT big thing, or at the very least sell your song to someone in a position to be that.