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!
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!
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Brent’s Twitter: @Razorbaxter
Brent Baxter Music: http://www.brentbaxtermusic.com