Making music might be the thing you live and breathe to do, but it doesn’t mean you’ll feel motivated to write and record songs all the time. In fact, you might encounter months-long stretches of time where you’d rather do pretty much anything else more than writing songs if you’re a serious or professional songwriter with years of experience under your belt. This is normal, but you’ll need tools and strategies to get back to work eventually. Motivation is crucial for music-makers, but it’s not always easy to access. If you feel bored, aimless, or unsure how to make your next musical step, here are some motivation tips to help get you moving:
Songwriters don’t have it easy. We’re writing songs during the most competitive time in music industry history. If you’re a professional songwriter, income sources that used to be reliable, like licensing, have become much less so in recent years. And with today’s playlist-centric listening culture, it’s a feast or famine situation for many professional songwriters. But even if you’re not writing songs for your main source of income, there are plenty of challenges you will likely face as a songwriter. If you love making music and want to do it seriously for the rest of your life, it’s helpful to know why so many songwriters call it quits.
You might not realize this, but there’s an internal conflict that plays out whenever you write music. As songwriters, we carry the weight of our experiences and allow them to shape who we are and the music we make. Things like a traumatic breakup or the six months you backpacked across Europe inevitably show up in your music in subtle or overt ways. However, we often forget that our musical pasts have complicated impacts on the music we make in the present. Believe it or not, how you approached learning your first instrument could be bad for your songwriting process through an overreliance on control.
The conventional knowledge in the world of music today is that CDs do not sell anymore. Yes, CDs are no longer the mainstream media for releasing new music. However, this does not mean that as artists we cannot generate revenue from CD sales. In fact, a lot of artists today still depend on CD sales for their merch revenue. Along with merch revenue, there are other potential avenues where releasing your new music in the CD format can prove useful. In this article, we’d like to outline five reasons why you should still release your new music in CD format.
When you hear the word “discipline,” you might think of the work it takes for a bodybuilder to build and maintain muscle, or someone saying no to certain foods because they’re on a diet. But as music-makers, discipline often means the difference of being able to write great music or not. It’s one of the most important attributes we can embrace if we want to be productive and meaningfully engaged.
We don’t need much other than an instrument and our desire to make music during the writing process, but we do need some things. What you have in the room with you while you write can absolutely have a big impact on the music you end up creating. Some of the items on this list might seem obvious, but their importance and benefit to your writing process really can’t be overstated. Nothing on this list should be too hard to get your hands on, and if you make sure to have these items out and ready when you write, your musical life will be a lot easier and more productive.
When you think about your favorite music, you probably immediately turn to the stories of what inspired great songs. Breakups, tours gone wrong, new love, etc. While these origin stories are crucial for shaping music and giving it purpose and urgency, there’s something important missing here that songwriters should know about.
There are the big stories behind great music, and then there are the many small things that had to happen in order for vague ideas and inspiration to combine and develop into something solid and memorable. Actions as simple and easy as having a recording device out and ready and labeling your spontaneous music ideas could make the difference of whether you’ll be able to create at your full potential or not.
Creating lots of music obviously takes work, but writing in ways that highlight your unique strengths and perspectives as a songwriter is much harder to do. If you’re new to songwriting, it can be hard to recognize your unique creative strengths. But even if you’ve been at it for years, it’s not always natural to create with your strengths at the center of your process.
As songwriters, we each bring a unique set of perspectives and musical assets to our music. But while each of us is different, there are universal strategies we can embrace to highlight our creative strengths in music creation.