Don’t Let Songwriting Success Kill Your Momentum


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.

Don’t let songwriting success kill your momentum.

That sounds crazy, right?

But trust me, success can be just as big of a stumbling block as failure.

And here’s why: In the music biz, it can take a long time for success to bear the fruit of success.

Let’s say you get a big cut. It’s an amazing feeling, for sure. It’s tempting and easy to spend too much time and attention on what is now out of your hands. “Did it make the record? Will it be a single? Let me spend my solo songwriting time daydreaming about my #1 party!  Oh, and let’s make sure I spend too much of my cowriting time annoying my cowriter by talking about it!”

But here’s the truth- it may take months, years, or never for your cut to ever see the light of day. (It took TWO YEARS after my Randy Travis cut for the album to come out- and other cuts never came out at all.) Even if the record comes out, it’s easy to wait around to see if it becomes a single. If you are too focused on that one cut, you might miss several good opportunities in the meantime.

For example, you might be tempted to wait until your song is released to call for that cowrite you want (thinking it’ll make you more credible).  Or maybe you’re waiting to book some particular songwriting show until you can say, “Yeah, this song came out last week…”

Or maybe your success is getting your first song picked up by a publisher.  It’s tempting to see what happens to that song before approaching other publishers or certain songwriters about writing.

Maybe you just had a great publisher meeting, and you’re waiting to see if you can get a single song publishing contract before calling a venue and trying to book a songwriter round.

But the thing you’re waiting on may not happen, and you wasted time when you could’ve been making something else happen.

Write your next song. Find your next pitch opportunity. Don’t stop working your backside off! Now’s not the time to coast- now’s the time to put the hammer down while you have a success under your belt to give you some street cred.

Please understand me, though- I’m NOT telling you not to celebrate your victories. It’s very important to savor the wins (see my post “6 Ways Songwriters Can Keep Motivated”).

Go ahead, dance in the endzone. Spike the football. But then huddle back up and run the next play.

The game isn’t over yet- don’t stop playing.

What about you?  Have you experienced a success that hurt, or threatened to hurt your forward momentum?  I’d love to hear your comments!

God Bless,



Thanks to the Songwriting and Music Business Conference for having me out to speak on the 20th!  I had a blast, and I enjoyed meeting several of ya’ll in person.  And thanks for all the kind comments in person and on Twitter and Facebook!


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