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5 Songwriting Excuses that Destroy Your Songwriting

Songwriting excuses let you avoid solving your songwriting problems. If your songwriting results aren’t meeting your expectations you need to read this...
5 Songwriting Excuses that Destroy Your Songwriting

Table of Contents

If you aren’t getting the results from your songwriting that you expect, if you’ve ever felt like songwriting was melting your brain or made you want to smash your guitar I can guarantee you’ve made at least one of these 5 songwriting excuses explored (and solved) in this article. 

Instead of covering up the problems, let’s solve them!

In this article, you’ll learn: 

  • 5 common songwriting excuses that destroy your songwriting 
  • Why these excuses create bigger problems than you already have
  • How you can solve these problems so you can write songs you’re proud to share 

Below the video is a summary of the 5 songwriting excuses and their solutions… and links you can explore for more details about each solution

Let’s get to it…. 

5 Songwriting Excuses That Destroy Your Songwriting: Solving Your Songwriting Problems

Songwriting Excuse 1: I Don’t have Time to Write Songs

This is a common excuse, blaming the world and your busy life, instead of accepting the results of our own behaviour.

Unless you’re a single parent with 2 jobs you have time to do things you REALLY want to do. Everyone has 24 hours in a day. It comes down to your priorities and what you really want to do with your life. 

We all  have jobs and life commitments, and spouses and families and we need to look after ourselves, but how much time do we waste each day?

How much time do you spend on social media in a day, or watching television? What else are you routinely wasting time on?

What things do you do that you don’t really need to be doing if you’re seriously considering learning a set of skills like songwriting. 

Stop for 20 seconds and think about it… I’ll wait.


Solving the “I Don’t Have Time” Songwriting Excuse

Where can you find a few 5 or 15 minute blocks in your day? 

“I don’t have the time” is an excuse. 

Songwriting isn’t accidental, you have to plan for it and then execute your plan. You need to make the time to write or it just won’t happen.

Songwriting Excuse 2: I Don’t Have Enough Songwriting Talent

I hate this one. Listen, songwriting talent doesn’t exist. The word “talented” gets thrown around in the media. “She’s such a talented singer, he’s a talented guitarist, she’s such a talented songwriter…”

What do they all have in common? 

They practiced. 

It’s not “natural  talent” that makes a difference, it’s making the time (remember?) and sitting yourself down consistently and practicing the skills you want to learn. Someone might learn faster or slower than you, but if you put in the time, you can learn songwriting. It’s not magic, it’s practice.

Mozart practiced, Hendrix practiced, Rihanna practiced and so did Adele.

Solving the “Songwriting Talent” Excuse

Claiming you don’t have talent is really saying, “I can’t and will never be able to, so I don’t have to do it.” 

I’ve got an excuse so I don’t have to put in the time to learn how. It’s a way out so you don’t have to do the work. Don’t use the “talent excuse”!

If you’re still struggling to figure out songwriting it’s time to consider investing in a shortcut, like songwriting training, to flatten your learning curve…

Songwriting Excuse 3: My Songs Aren’t Good Enough

This excuse covers a whole range of problems, from “this idea isn’t good enough for this song” to “this song won’t be good enough to finish so I’ll just forget about it” to “this song is finished but isn’t good enough to release.”

You need a little of this “doubt” to write a song… otherwise we’d just freestyle our songs. Idea, sing and play, done. That’s improvising, not writing music… different things.

You’ll have ideas that don’t fit in the song you’re working on. Some ideas are better than others. You make choices while you’re editing your song lyrics to find the best ideas and best order of ideas for a song.

But if you overdo the doubt thing, you can paralyze yourself. Many years ago I did this to myself. I’d block ideas as I was writing. In mid-sentenced I’d think “this idea is terrible” and I’d stop writing it down. It got so bad that I didn’t write anything down for a month because nothing was “good enough.”

Solving the “Not Good Enough” Songwriting Excuse

Fortunately this led to a songwriting breakthrough. I started brainstorming, stream of consciousness writing with no editing or filter. I just write as many ideas as fast as I can. 

A finished okay song is better than any unfinished masterpiece… in fact a horrible finished song is automatically better than any unfinished song…

“Good enough” doesn’t really mean anything… How good is “good”? What is “enough”? Trying to create with a nebulous goal of “good enough” just causes you frustration instead of helping you finish songs.

Songwriting Excuse 4: My Songs Aren’t as Good as I Imagined

1. This is actually a good thing. This means that we aren’t satisfied with a crap song, that we want to push and grow and write better songs. The bar is up here and we can’t reach it yet.

2. Now you’re a songwriter, that’s the opinion of almost every songwriter ever. Welcome to the club. That’s almost every songwriter. 

Solving the “Not as Good as I Imagined” Songwriting Excuse

We all wish we could put on a magic helmet and imagine a song and it’d be instantly written. 

Imagining is easy because it’s only the big picture or the feeling, it doesn’t include all the details. It’s hard to do the work and put in the time and figure out all the details to make that imagining a reality.

I can imagine blasting off into space on a rocket ship. It’s a little bit harder to actually build it in my backyard and launch it. Imaging is the first step, not the last step.

Songwriting Excuse 5: I’m a Snowflake 

I’m too old, or too young, or not a strong guitarist or I’m too good at piano or I’m too purple… Every snowflake is different and so is every human being. But you can’t discount yourself because of something that makes you different. It’s actually a strength!

We’re all unique individuals, with our own experiences and perspective.  Songwriting is telling a story from your perspective. There’s nobody else  that can write a story and turn it into a song from your perspective. Only you can write your songs. 

Solving the Snowflake Songwriting Excuse

Here’s what songwriting really is… taking that songwriting inspiration and crafting a story that evokes emotions in your audience. 

1- It takes songwriting knowledge understanding what’s needed in each song section to make a song work and it takes 

2- Practice writing songs, putting that knowledge to work.

Your first songs sound weak because you’re still learning. As you practice your songs improve. The more focused practice you do, the faster you improve. 

Songwriting Excuses: Summary

Excuses usually cover up a problem, they’re a human way to rationalize our way out of a problem without actually solving it. If you aren’t conscious of it, you can’t solve the problem, and you’re doomed to repeat it.

If you channel your energy into fixing your thinking and your actions so you can make some progress and finish songs you’re proud to share!

Your Next Songwriting Step…

For more help learning songwriting knowledge, check out the online songwriting courses on EpicSongWriting.

If you’re stuck somewhere between the “I’m broke” or the “I’m too busy to invest in songwriting right now” excuses, try the free songwriting advice and tips that actually work on EpicSongWriting… I’d suggest you start with:

Leave a comment to help other songwriters: What’s an excuse you’ve used with your own songwriting?

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Trevor Dimoff

Trevor Dimoff

Trevor Dimoff has taught, played and written music professionally for the last 25+ years.

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