Change Your Songwriting Story To Have More Success

Songwriters are storytellers.  We love to tell our listeners about the world as we see it- what makes us laugh, what makes us cry, what we believe in, etc.  But the most important story you will ever tell as a songwriter… is the story you tell YOURSELF.


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The story we choose to tell ourselves will have a huge impact on our growth, creativity and success as songwriters.  I know they have in my career.

I figured out early in my songwriting that I wasn’t any good at writing melodies.  I’ve never been a good singer, and melodies are frustrating.  But the words?  Words have always been my thing.  I’ve always loved playing with them- and I have a knack for it.  Along with this realization of my strengths and weaknesses came a choice.

What story will I tell myself- about myself?

Will I tell myself that I’m “only half a songwriter?”  That I’m “not a real songwriter?”  Will I tell myself it’s not fair that life didn’t hand me all the talents I’d like to have?  Will I tell myself that no “real” songwriter would want to write with “just a lyricist?”

As you can probably guess, that’s NOT the story I told myself.  I told myself, “I’m a lyricist.  I’m  a specialist.”  I told myself myself that country music loves great lyrics – so I do something valuable.  I told myself I don’t have to be great at everything.  I told myself that as long as I’m great at one thing, I’d have a seat at the table.

This self-story has made an incredible difference.

It has allowed me to act from a position of confidence instead of doubt.  Instead of approaching potential cowriters almost apologetically like “I’m sorry, but will you please write with me?  I’m only a lyricist,” I could look them in the eye without shame and say, “I’m a lyricist, and I have some ideas I think you’re gonna love.”

What story do you tell yourself?

Do you tell yourself that it doesn’t matter how good your songs are because “you gotta know somebody?” Or do you say “I’m GOING to make it- and the better my songs are, the easier it’s going to be to get to know somebody?”

Do you tell yourself that publishers are stupid for not liking your songs?  Or do you tell yourself that publishers NEED great songs and you just have to write better ones?

Is your story that you were born in the wrong PLACE to be a songwriter because you’re hundreds of miles from New York, LA or Nashville?  Or is your story that you were born at a great TIME to be a songwriter because you can use the internet to connect with the music business from anywhere in the world?

The story you CHOOSE to tell will either help or hurt your chances for success.

Is your story “you gotta be lucky to make it, so it doesn’t matter how hard I work?”  Or is your story “luck loves songwriters that are serious and work hard, so I’m gonna work harder?”

Your story matters.

It’s time to do a check up from your neck up.  Be honest with yourself about your story.  Are your stories helping you or holding you back?

Does your story tell you why you CAN, or does it tell you why you CAN’T?

Listen, I’m not into fru-fru ya-ya mumbo jumbo.  I don’t believe success is attracted to me just because I tell myself I’ll be successful. No, if I believe I’ll be successful, I’m more willing to put in the work and take the chances that make success more likely.  My story doesn’t change the universe.  My story changes me.

If your story is that music publishers don’t know what good music is so they won’t like your music, you know what will probably happen?  You’ll probably play songs for one or two publishers – just enough to prove yourself “right” – and then just quit calling publishers.

However, if your story after one or two rejections is that you just haven’t found the right publisher yet, you’ll keep trying.  And that alone increases your odds of success.  Or if your story is that you just need to write better songs, you’ll stay in the game, writing, getting better, and building publisher relationships.  And then you might just get that big hit.

And THAT will be a great story.

If you’d like to sit down with me (online from anywhere in the world), I have some coaching slots available.  This is your chance to ask me YOUR questions, work on your songs, etc.  Basically, it’s my time to serve you however I can, on a comfortable one-to-one basis.

You can learn more or sign up for a helpful coaching session HERE.

God Bless and Enjoy the Journey,



To BE a pro, you need to THINK like a pro, and this FREE ebook will help transform your thinking, your songwriting, and your success.  Get it today!

Click Here For The Book

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. SWP 4

7 thoughts on “Change Your Songwriting Story To Have More Success”

  1. Thanks for the advice, Brent… the stories we tell ourselves affect what we believe and we can do!

    I tell myself I’m a slow writer, because I am deliberate and write several drafts before I’m satisfied with my lyrics.

    I was arguing with one of my blog posts for several days… after I read your article, I pulled out an outlined post on a similar topic, added some new action steps … finished & edited it in record time!

    Sometimes the right prompt at the right time is the best push you can ask for…

    Thanks for the inspiration, Brent!

  2. I’m forever grateful that I started listening to Brent’s advice early on when I began approaching my songwriting more professionally.

    I’m still a very average melody writer and a pretty awful musician but artists write with me because they know I’m going to deliver a great song idea and great lyrics.

    I learned from Brent that as a professional songwriter it’s much more important to be GREAT at something than to try to be good at everything.

    And I also learned how to come up with a steady stream of song ideas and how to write great lyrics from Brent.

    Take his coaching. There is nothing quite like having a pro look at your songs and tell you what you’re doing well (that may surprise you) and the fastest way to get better (that will surprise you too).

    We all have blind spots and a pro like Brent will pick those up fast.

  3. This “psychology of self in songwriting” IS another one of those free nuggets that’s tucked away within Singwriting Pro, and that one only gets when they actually lay back on the Dr’s couch and absorb the info given here. That’s exactly what I love about it!
    ………And I thought you were ONLY a songwriter. Thanks Dr. Phil!-Lol. Nice work!

  4. Hi Brent, thanks so much for posting this, I get into those ruts occasionally (like today!) so this was very timely for me. I’m a lyricist too, not being a singer. What I’ve been doing today, is sitting down with a set of lyrics , and (OK slooooowly) working out a melody on the piano, so at least now I can let people hear my intensions!

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