Songwriting Success Is Like Buying On Layaway… Really.


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.


Hey, ya’ll! At the bottom of today’s post, I’m going to let you know about some free stuff I’m giving away to all of you great Man vs. Row subscribers. Now, on to today’s post…

Remember the days when people largely believed in paying for something BEFORE they walked out of the store with it? Back then, lot of stores like Wal-Mart and Sears used to offer something called layaway.

It works like this: My mom would pick out a big item like a bike or something and “put it on layaway.” The nice folks at Wal-Mart would put it in the back with Mom’s name on it. She would come in periodically and give them some money toward the bike. When she finally paid off the whole thing, she could take the bike home to me. Merry Christmas!

Funny as it sounds, success is a lot like buying something on layaway.

We pick out our “bike” – our desired success. But just choosing your success doesn’t mean you get to leave the store with it. You still have to pay for it before you can take that success home. Your success, whatever it might be, goes behind the counter. How soon you get to actually OWN that success largely depends on how often and how much you put down on it.

You can have an awesome goal in mind, but if you never come back to the store and put payment toward it, you’ll never get it.

Even little successes never happen if you forget about them.

You put down payments on your success with your time, your energy, your effort, and your wise decisions.

There is no credit card for success. You have to pay for it before you get it.

What about you?  Is there a success you achieved like layaway?  What success are you currently paying for, one payment at a time?  I’d love to hear from you- leave a comment!

God Bless,



I’m excited to be speaking on song idea discovery and development at the 2014 Songwriting And Music Business Conference in Nashville, TN! Click the image below to find out more. I’d love to see you there!

2014 Conference Conference and Song School and City image Logo Image


As a way to say “thank you” to all of you who subscribe to Man vs. Row by email, I’m going to give away some cool stuff in July (2014). If you subscribe to MvR, I’ll send you a free report, “10 Things The Pro Knows.” I’ll also send you the guitar/vocal of “Crickets,” which is the title track of Joe Nichols’ current album. You’ll get to hear the song as Joe heard it when he decided to record it. You’ll also receive the lyric file of the song- and this lyric file includes “Baxter’s Boneyard” – all the lines that DIDN’T make it into the song (see if you agree with our choices). It’s something nobody else has seen, and I think it’s pretty cool. But, again, this gift is only for those who subscribe to Man vs. Row by E-MAIL. These gifts will be sent by email, so if I don’t have your email address, I can’t send it to you. God Bless!


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13 thoughts on “Songwriting Success Is Like Buying On Layaway… Really.”

  1. Brent, that was a great analogy…I’m on the 30 year layaway plan! By the way, here is a song I wrote called “Walmart Woman”…..catch the layaway line at the end. Thanks for the blog.

  2. My husband and I let everything go to be full time on the road. He is an evangelist and we also write and record. We have a dream of more people being able to hear the lyrics, whether we record it or someone else does. For right now though, we are traveling and meeting people we never would have, had we just kept doing life as usual.

  3. Great analogy, I love writing / composing songs. Have thought about perhaps getting someone else to record them but, its hard to figure out who to pitch them too cause they’re all my style.

  4. That’s a great way to put it. Thanks for sharing! My layaway plan is to become a career hit songwriter. To “pay” for that success, I’ve been writing and performing for 8 years so far. I recently went back to grad school for 3 years to secure a degree in Music Performance/Music Education. Immediately following, I moved to Nashville (from NJ) last July and have been working like crazy…writing, networking, performing. I just got my first cut!! American Idol finalist, Chase Likens cut my song “Caught In A Storm”. It hit radio a month ago and is starting to pick up steam. Fingers crossed!! A lot of hard work ahead. Cheers!

  5. Brent and all,
    When I was 18, I was in the process of recording an artist demo, and was going to be “shopped” to the majors. I realized that those around me were chomping at the bit ready to devour me as an artist (meaning everyone and their mother was ready to take this percentage of this, and that percentage of that), and I hated that feeling! I realized that I really enjoyed writing and recording songs, but not the other areas of being an “artist”. So I set out to take the Ne-Yo route, write for other artists first, get successful, and then do my artistry the way I wanted to do it, without all of the hands being out ready for something. Fast forward 10 years later, and with the diminishing opportunities in R&B/Pop for writers (or at least writers not in the production/songwriter crews already getting cuts), and it seems as though I “need” to be my own artist once again. I am throwing the idea around in my head. My gut and heart is telling me to just continue writing and recording, put my head down to the do the hard work, and the eventual pay off will come. What are your thoughts?

  6. I totally thought this was going to be an article about people putting holds on songs and the highs/lows of that whole process but this analogy is wonderful. Very true of any kind of success we’re going for. Thanks for the AM motivation 🙂

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