Solving Songwriter Overload
Use the “Pizza Rule” to get it all done, without losing your mind
Ever feel like you aren’t getting anywhere…
- The to do list is growing and nothing ever gets crossed off it
- You don’t finish your songs, or enough songs or finish them fast enough
- Everything seems to takes too long
- You aren’t happy with the songs you finish
- There doesn’t seem to be enough time
The frustration builds, impatience becomes normal, until you notice you are skipping your songwriting sessions… there’s too much else to do, or ever worse… you don’t want to do anything except quit….
You are trying to do everything… without finishing anything properly.
As a songwriter, it often feels like there is too much to do… stop trying to do too much and not giving yourself enough time!
The solution is to use the:
In the cover photo, I show the problem with
two guitars in one hand, to a songwriter the solution is obvious:
use two hands to carry two guitars.
(It also looked better than the test shots of me shoving an entire pizza into my face)
What’s the Pizza Rule?
I use the Pizza Rule as a metaphor to explain how to practice to my saxophone students.
Ever try to pick up and eat an entire pizza?
How is a pizza served?
Answer: It’s sliced….
When something is too big to eat (play / write / do) cut it into manageable pieces.
The Pizza Rule is: cut a big thing into manageable pieces.
If a song is too hard to play all the way through, make it easier by breaking it into smaller pieces. Sometimes this means a bar at a time.
If a problem is too big, slice it up….
To solve a big problem: break it into smaller problems
- To write a song: write the chorus and some verses and a bridge or prechorus.
- To carry a heavy load by yourself: make two (or more) trips or get some help.
- To do it all, break it into smaller pieces, take more time, and get some help.
How to break down the problems:
Regular work habits
Find time on a regular basis, instead of trying to jam it all in once or twice a week.
Work consistently and intelligently… if you keep doing what you already do, there isn’t much chance you will improve!
Break big problems into smaller tasks
Create more detailed plans
Don’t leave out important steps while you are planning and add them when you notice missing steps
Keep old plans and use them as template for similar tasks
Create more flexible plans
Leave space and time for unforeseen surprises, missed details, or “life gets in the way”
Set realistic deadlines
Except for not setting deadlines, the usual problem with deadlines is underestimating how long a task really takes or forgetting to account for all the steps in a task.
Share the load
Collaborate with other like minded people.
Find someone with strengths / knowledge you don’t have… that’s why you’re still reading, right?
Find a mentor
Learn from someone who knows more than you do.
Focus on the Big Wins
Decide where you should be focusing your energy and start with that every time you are working on your music… hint: it is probably writing songs!
Keep In Mind:
- Realize that sometimes things don’t go as you expect or plan.
- Solve the problem instead of complaining about it.
- Don’t beat yourself up when a solution doesn’t work the first time.
- Just because “DIY” means “Do It Yourself” doesn’t mean you can’t get help… established bands and writers have managers and entire teams behind them!
Get out some paper or open a file to take notes (focus your thinking by writing it down instead of just thinking about it and then not doing anything about it!)
What is most important – what are your highest priorities?
What isn’t important – what can wait?
What you don’t need to be doing – where are you wasting time?
Where you need help – get specific for better results?
What you need to learn – who can guide you?
What you can subcontract – hire help….
Help other songwriters by leaving a comment below:
Where can you use the Pizza Rule in your songwriting to finish your songs?