A Positive Attitude Matters For Songwriters

Man vs Row

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.

Success in songwriting and the music business is about so much more than just talent. For one thing, there is just so much talent in (and trying to get in) the business that talent alone is not enough. In a biz where talent is as common as water, attitude can make or break you. So today, I’d like to focus on why having a positive attitude is important.

A positive attitude keeps you going.

This is a marathon, not a sprint. A positive attitude allows you to tap into your deeper energy reserves. Without this, it’s too easy to quit when it’s been a few miles (or a few years) of uphill climb. A positive attitude gets you through the tough times.

A positive attitude draws the right people to you.

Wise, successful people want to surround themselves with positive people. They know that negative attitudes are contagious and toxic, so they intentionally avoid negative people. If you want to keep the company of successful people, it helps to be a positive person.

A positive attitude helps you be more creative.

If you believe you’ll be successful, if you believe your next great song is just around the corner, your mind will be open and receptive to song ideas in the world around you. In a cowrite, you’re more likely to shut down and not contribute if you’re more worried about not saying something “stupid” than you are about saying something that might be great.

A positive attitude opens your eyes to possibilities.

Pessimism focuses on the closed door, but optimism keep an eye out for an open window. A positive attitude allows you to move on from disappointments more quickly so you get back in the game. Pessimism sees only the reasons something won’t work. Optimism sees the obstacles, but it can also envision the path to victory- or at least believes that there IS a path to victory to be found.

A positive attitude helps you learn.

If you always focus on how “bad” the songs on the radio are or what hacks the hit songwriters are, you’re less likely to see what has made those songs and those songwriters successful. You don’t have to love every song on the radio, but they each might have something to teach you. Don’t miss the lesson.

Songwriting should be fun!

Listen, the chance of big monetary or commercial success in songwriting is very slim. If you don’t have a good attitude, if you aren’t having fun, then you should probably find something else to do. Music is meant to be a blessing. If it becomes a curse, you may need to step away for a while.

Take good care of your attitude, and your attitude will take good care of you.

What about you?  What other advantages do you get from a positive attitude?  What disadvantages of a negative attitude?  I’d love to hear your comments!

God Bless,



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11 thoughts on “A Positive Attitude Matters For Songwriters”

  1. Great Words, Brent, as always! Thanks! U are a Great Writer, period, as well as great songwriter! Believe your Mom is/was and English Teacher (or at least a an excellent teacher). It shows! Have moved to Nashville. (semi) Retired and have dream job driving golf cart all over Nashville making sure people are having Fun and giving terrific tours of the Greatest City in the World! Call sometime for a Free Ride for u and your friends! Also, go see The Eskimo Brothers at The Wheel, Wed., Friday or Sat.! 3 of best entertainers, musicians I have ever seen!! Eskimobrothers.net … Write w Haley and Michaels … Gonna be Huge Duo! Great Chemistry! Shannon Haley and Ryan Michaels! Great People’s, as are Eskimo Brothers!
    217-316-4738 for free rides, tour!

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Another awesome post. Thanks so much for all you do for songwriters! Read it while sitting here on a plane headed to Nashville…you are right-on, and these are good words to keep in mind. Mary Haller

  3. Well, this is definitely one of my favorite posts. There is so much said here that can be applied to so many different aspects of life, not just the songwriting portion of your life.

    It took some time, but in the sports I participate in, I’ve learned over the years to temper my emotions and attitude. I don’t get overly excited when I win, and I don’t get overly disappointed when I lose. In both situations I learn, and that is always a reason to stay positive.

    I have been writing songs only a very short time, but I have been able to relate that same positive attitude to my songwriting. Because of my lack of knowledge and experience, most of my songs are borderline terrible. But, just like I was a terrible bowler when I started 30 years ago, my songwriting has to be put into perspective. Just like in my early bowling days, I learned more from a bad shot or a bad game than I did the good shots or good games. That remains true today. I try to apply that to my songwriting. I probably learn more from my “terrible” songs than I do the “not-so-terrible” ones. So, for me that means the more “terrible” songs I write, the more I can potentially learn. And who knows, as bad as I was when I first started bowling, I never thought I would one day win the city and state tournaments.

    Not everyone can write a song, or bowl well. So, just having the gift is reason enough to stay positive. I have had so many friends, who remain shocked, tell me they wish they could write a song because it “looks” fun. Until a few months ago, I would have never dreamed I could write a song, even a terrible one. So, I embrace that as a gift, and as a reason to always stay positive.

  4. Great advice Brent. This sage advice applies to almost everything in life. Thanks for reminding us all to embrace the postive and reject the negative! cheers Michael

  5. Well, I agree with most of what you posted. If any job isn’t fun then you need to enter another profession. However, professional songwriting isn’t a blessing. It’s a full time job. If you were born with certain types of talent, that’s a blessing And quite frankly if anyone thinks they’re going to get anywhere as a professional songwriter they had better treat songwriting as a serious job. You’ll never make a decent living at it if you don’t. It costs too much time and money to get anywhere meanigful as a songwriter to pursue it for funsies.

    1. Jeff, I agree. You’d better be willing to work extremely hard if you want songwriting success. And if you don’t find joy in working that hard- if you don’t love songwriting so much that even on the long hard days, you’re thankful… Then it may be time to do something else. The odds of success are too low. If you don’t enjoy the hard work (which is the vast majority of it), then the success won’t be worth it.

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