Knowing why you write will make you a happier, more successful songwriter. Whoa. That’s a pretty bold statement, isn’t it? Well, today, I’m going to give you five reasons I believe this is true. So let’s get to it.
1. It provides direction.
If you know why you write, it’s a lot easier to figure out what to do next. For example, if you write as a way to preserve family stories and history, then your next step might be to pull out the family photo albums to find ideas. Or you might want to record some songs as Christmas presents for your family. On the other hand, if you write songs about fishing that you hope fishermen will buy, you can focus on writing fishing songs and figuring out how to market them to fishermen.
2. It clears the clutter.
Knowing why you write not only provides direction to your writing, it helps you identify what you SHOULDN’T be doing. For example, if you write songs to get them recorded by others, why are you spending so much time booking your own shows and shopping for stage clothes? Just go to shows of people that might record your songs and get to know them. If you write to see kids light up and dance in the living room, you know you can stop making videos and trying to get views on YouTube. Just find some kids and a living room.
3. It helps you find your tribe.
Or maybe it means you don’t need to find a tribe. Your tribe is that group of folks who care about what you care about and share similar interests, passions, and goals. If you write to express your love of beer, maybe you shouldn’t be looking for cowrites at a church choir convention. Find a band playing in a honky tonk.
4. It helps you spend your time and money wisely.
If you’re writing to hear your song on the radio, you don’t have to spend money demoing that novelty song written in Russian. You also know you don’t have to watch hours of YouTube videos on “how to write hit songs” if you know you really just want to write songs to cheer up sick children in the hospital.
5. It lets you know which advice and criticism to ignore.
You post a song online and some bonehead rants about how your song, “This Is How You Milk A Cow,” will never get on today’s country radio. Since you know you write to entertain and educate kids about farming and country life, you can just laugh and go on with your day. But if they say they were confused because for the whole first verse, they thought you were talking about being an astronaut, then you know you might need a rewrite.
So, yes, I believe you’ll be a happier and more successful songwriter if you can define why you write. Irrelevant criticism won’t drag you down, and you’ll spend your time and money on things that get you closer to what was important to you deep down anyway. You’ll have a better idea of which opportunities to pursue and which to ignore. And you’ll have a better chance of finding like-minded folks with which to share your journey.
So, why do YOU write? Spend some time thinking about it if you haven’t before. If you’re feeling really froggy, post it in the comments. There are no wrong reasons. Just honest or dishonest ones.
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Brent’s Twitter: @Razorbaxter
Brent Baxter Music: http://www.brentbaxtermusic.com