6 Ways To Get The Most From Your Solo Songwriting Time

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Brent is a hit songwriter with cuts by Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, Lady Antebellum, Joe Nichols, Gord Bamford, Ray Stevens, and more.  He’s written a top 5 hit in the US and a #1 in Canada… so far.

It’s frustrating to finally get some solo songwriting time, then to feel like it just wasn’t as productive as you hoped it would be.  Today, I want to give you six tips to make the most of your solo songwriting time.

1. Schedule it.

If you schedule your solo writing, you’re more likely to actually HAVE solo writing time.  Also, if you know it’s coming up on Tuesday at 10am, you’ll start thinking about it as the time approaches.  You’ll start thinking about what you can write about and you’ll start getting in the “songwriter state of mind” before you even sit down to write.

2. Build a transition ritual.

An athlete doesn’t just step on the field and start competing without warming up. In the same way, you might pull a brain-muscle if you go directly from board meeting or baby-changing to trying to write a hit chorus.  Transition rituals can help you make the switch to your creative mind.  They might include taking a walk, driving around the block, listening to some great music, freewriting, or sitting quietly for a few minutes.  Just make sure your transition ritual doesn’t become procrastination.

3. Go to your creative space.

I think it helps to have a place you go where your brain knows “this is where I write.”  Your tools are there (guitar, capo, notebook, etc.) and it’s comfortable (though not nap-inducing).  It could be a quiet corner of your home, or it could be the corner coffee shop where there’s just enough distraction to be white-noise.

4. Eliminate distractions.

Turn off your phone, email, internet, TV, radio, etc.  It’s easy to click over and check email when you’re stuck on a rhyme, but it’s a major time killer.  Focus, focus, focus.

5. Allow enough time.

Each of us takes a certain amount of time to get into a groove, and nothing’s more frustrating than having to quit when you’re just hitting it.  So learn yourself and schedule enough time for you to hit that groove and stay in it for a while.  It might be that one 4-hour block is twice as productive as four 1-hour blocks.

6. Get enough sleep.

It’s hard to be sharp when you’re groggy or foggy from lack of sleep.  We need our brains working well, and they work best when they get enough sleep.

Hope that helps!

God Bless,

Brent

YOU VS…

Anything you’d like to add or ask?  What are some things you do to maximize your solo songwriting time?  Leave a comment!  Are there any topics  you’d like to see addressed in a future MvR post?  Thanks!

http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Down-Bones-Freeing-Edition/dp/1590302613/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1390996433&sr=8-1&keywords=writing+down+the+bones

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Brent Baxter Music:  http://www.brentbaxtermusic.com

12 thoughts on “6 Ways To Get The Most From Your Solo Songwriting Time”

  1. Thanks Brent, these are some really great suggestions. I have done some co-writing but I am primarily a solo writer. You are right on the money about scheduling a time. Sometimes I may go weeks without writing a single song for the exact reason that I don’t PLAN on it. I just write when an idea hits me. I would have more songs if I were more deliberate about it. Also having a place to play is important. Mainly I need an “alone” place. I hate for anyone to hear the crude rough drafts of my song being sung over and over while trying to get it right.

  2. Morning Brent, I see the ad for the book “Writing Down the Bones.” Is that just adware picking that ad for me or is it something you recommend? Any books on you can recommend?

    1. Matt,
      I added the link in for the book. I read it years ago, and I just thought I’d give everyone the chance to check it out- see if it’s something you’d be interested in.

      1. Thanks again. I borrowed the book from the library and finished the book the other day. It was pretty interesting and lots of excersises that I’ve started to use to get my creative juices flowing when it’s not Wordplay Thursday of course.

  3. Love the tips – these are great! I once heard Kip Moore wrote a song a day for an entire year (maybe longer?) It’s a lofty goal, but I’m trying to do the same. I’m doing this to develop a habit, challenge my creativity, & improve my writing ability. I never made writing a routine thing until, one day, I had an epiphany, “if you want to be a writer, you have to write!” So scheduling is a HUGE deal right now. Just began this endeavor a month or so ago & still working out the kinks. Love the ritual idea. While “finishing” a song in one day is still challenging (doesn’t always happen right now – some days are harder than others!), I’m already writing way more than I ever have. This also keeps writing at the front of my mind & the energy going. Excited to incorporate some of these methods. Thanks, as always, for the guidance!

    1. Mae,
      Wow- I admire that discipline and focus! Great job! I would just encourage you, though, to be willing to spend more than one day on a song if you need to- if it’s the right song. If you think there’s a diamond in there that needs some extra polish.

      Just imagine how much further along you’ll be in a year! I bet you’re gonna learn so much…

      1. Thanks for the reply! I see the wisdom in that advice. Will certainly keep that in mind along the way. Truly appreciate the input and encouragement:)

  4. Thank you Brent for the tips, Ihope to get back in the grove of writing, I’m taking notes as I go brother.

    Kind Regards
    Wm.

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