Confession time: I’m a below-average guitar player, I couldn’t write a hit melody to save my life, and I sing like a horse. But you know what? Choosing to stay awful at those things has helped me become a successful songwriter.
Choosing to be terrible just might help you, too.
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I’m not kidding when I say I’m not good at singing, playing or writing melody. It isn’t false humility- it’s the truth. I’m not naturally gifted at any of those things. And that’s okay. I’ve still been able to write some cuts and get a song or two on the radio. As a matter of fact, choosing to stay awful at those things has been one of my wisest business decisions.
Choosing to be terrible at most things has helped me be great at a few things.
I’m a word guy. Words and ideas are my thing. I’ve always played with words and made up stories. That’s my natural gift. so early in my songwriting journey, I decided that my best chance for success was to be great at one thing- at least ONE thing. I didn’t have to be great at everything.
I went all-in on my natural strengths.
I could’ve wasted a lot of time just trying to get my singing, playing and melodies up to average. And the time spent on those skills (or lack thereof) is time I could’ve been using to sharpen my lyrical skills. I could’ve ended up being average at everything.
Nobody turns pro by being average.
I figured if I got great at lyrics and ideas, I’d earn a seat at the table. While nobody is dying for a mediocre lyricist, a lot of songwriters value what a highly skilled lyricist can bring to a cowrite. That’s where I’ve made my value and created opportunities.
Of course, I’d love to be great at everything. But, like most writers… everything ain’t my thing.
You’re probably not good at everything, either.
I mean… if you ARE outstanding at several skills… God bless you. Run with them. That’s awesome. But if you’re like most of us, you have some strengths and you have some weaknesses.
Is it time to go ALL-IN on your strengths?
Are you missing the chance to be remarkable at something- to have a calling card as a songwriter- in an effort to be great at everything? If you have one really valuable skill that people need, you’ll have the opportunity to be successful. You don’t have to be great at everything.
After all, that’s why God made cowriters.
What do YOU think about this? Are you equally skilled at several things, or do you have one “songwriting superpower?” Do you think you’ve focused too much on your weaknesses and not enough on your strengths? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!
By the way, I’m blessed to be the new owner of a cool site called Frettie.com! It’s a place for songwriters to share our songs, get creative kickstarters, and a bunch of other cool stuff. Check it out if you get a chance.
God Bless and Enjoy the Journey,
Brent Baxter is a hit songwriter with cuts by Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, Lady Antebellum, Joe Nichols, Gord Bamford, Ruthie Collins, Ray Stevens, and more. He’s written a top 5 hit in the US and a #1 in Canada… so far.