Transforming Musicians into Songwriters

Songwriting When You Don’t Feel Like It

How to write when you don't feel like songwriting, stop struggling with your songwriting motivation... inspiration happens after you start: here's how!
Songwriting When You Don't Feel Like It - motivating yourself for songwriting

Table of Contents

If you don’t feel like songwriting and are struggling with your songwriting motivation this will save you…

You find yourself making excuses: “I’m too tired…” “I’ll write tomorrow…” and you actually contemplate cleaning out your refrigerator?

You finally sit down to write and it’s a physical struggle to stay there, you can’t sit still and your mind is all over the place?

You can’t complete a thought, let along write anything you don’t hate!

It’s fine to take a break, but if this is a pattern you’ve got to take care of it. I know… I took almost a decade off from playing and writing music. I let life get in the way and learned my lesson the hard way.

If you want something you have to work for it, put in the time and the practice.

If you’re waiting for inspiration to strike, you’re wasting your time. 

Inspiration happens after you start...

So let’s get you started!

Below the video lesson is a summary of the strategies discussed, with some bonus ideas and links to other songwriting resources to help you improve your songwriting rhyming skills!

First: 3 Songwriting Mindsets

1. Find the Fun

2. Reset Your Expectations

3. Focus on your Process, not the Product

Songwriting Mindset 1: Find the Fun

If songwriting isn’t fun… why would you do it?

You need to find joy in songwriting or it’ll always be a struggle!

  • Stop believing everything has to be perfect
  • Stop acting like this is life or death
  • Stop pretending that everything you write is going to be a hit.

You don’t need that pressure, it just makes everything more difficult.

You need to find the fun… get so involved in your songwriting that you lose time and forget the rest of the world.

Easier said than done… if you aren’t there already, it’s likely that you need to:

Start writing inspiration follows actions, close up photo of a microphone grill, songwriting meme

Songwriting Mindset 2: Reset Your Expectations

Unrealistic expectations are the prime cause of disappointment and of trashed songs you never finish.

If you have expectations you can’t meet…

When you think you can write a song every day and you can’t…

If you believe you should be able to write a song section in 10 minutes but you can’t!

You end up disappointed and create internal conflict between your expectations and your reality. “Believing” something doesn’t make it true.

So, reset your expectations so they are achievable. I don’t mean you should lower them so they are easy, but instead make them slightly difficult so you have to work, stretch and grow… hard but not impossible to achieve!

Sky scene, "Don't compare yourself or your songs to others"

Songwriting Mindset 3: Focus on your Process, not the Product

Taking a song from an initial inspiration to a finished song is a process. A song in the product.

Instead of putting your attention on a finished product, finishing a song… you can get further along by concentrating on your songwriting process… how you complete a song. Considering regular steady effort and growth is more effective than thinking only about your results.

For example:

I want to songwrite for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week is a goal about your process.

I want to write a song a week is a product goal.

A product goal is only concerned with the end, but doesn’t help you get there. 

Focus on your songwriting process first so you can get to your product goals.

Focus on your songwriting process not on songwriting tips.Create a dependable songwriting process, DOn't measure your worth as a songwriter by how others are doing, how to write a song withot the frustration

Songwriting Solutions: Actions Steps

1. Songwriting Warm Up

2. Songwriting Exercises

3. Play Music / Songs You Know

4. Learn New Music

5. Write Words and Stories – Not Lyrics

6. Daily Songwriting

Songwriting Solution 1: Songwriting Warm Up

A warm up routine helps you get into a good mindframe for songwriting. You need to slow yourself down and shut out the world so you can focus on songwriting and creativity!

You can use a vocal or instrumental warm up, do something that puts you in the mood for songwriting. My favourite lyric writing warm up is brainstorming…

Songwriting Solution 2: Songwriting Exercises

A song is a big project, instead of focusing on so many things: verses, pre-chorus, chorus and bridge… the lyrics, melodies, chord progressions, arrangement…

Instead choose a smaller, more manageable playground with fewer variables… a songwriting exercise. If you write something interesting you can always expand it into a song!

Choose one thing to work on in a songwriting exercise, either choose some from the two articles below or decide on one songwriting element to practice and invent your own exercise (be sure to email me trevor “at” epicsongwriting.com and tell me about it!)

Songwriting Solution 3: Play Music / Songs You Know

The best way to put yourself in a musical mindset is to make music. Play a song you know, either your own or a cover song. If possible, do something different with it: change the tempo, the key, the instrumental part. A small change will keep you fresh and alert so you aren’t just going through the motions. Have some fun with it while you’re activating your musical mind!

Music doesn't happen by accident, dandelion seeds, songwriting meme, songwriting tips that actually work, songwriting advice

Songwriting Solution 4: Learn New Music

Change your input to change your results. Creativity loves new ideas, new connections, new ways to do something.

I believe every new song I learn is an opportunity to discover new ideas I can borrow and adapt for my own songwriting. It could be a new turn of phrase or lyric ideas, new chord progressions, new ways to play chordal accompaniment… or just the excitement of learning something new!

Songwriting Solution 5: Write Words and Stories – Not Lyrics

One of the fastest ways to block up is trying to immediately write rhyming lyric lines. I find it easy to brainstorm fragments and ideas, then put them together and then start rhyming. When you have trouble writing lyrics… write prose, write bullet points, write anything but lyrics.

You can:

  • Brainstorm random ideas about a topic.
  • Write about all your excuses to avoid songwriting
    Write about why you want to write songs
  • Write a story for your song. 

Songwriting Solution 6: Daily Songwriting

When you’re developing your songwriting skills, regular routines are more effective than anything else. Instead of a daily self-motivation session to convince yourself to write, what if you had a habit of writing, so you just write?

If you need help creating space and time to work on your songwriting, click and enter your email address so I can send you:

Daily Songwriting

Learn to write songs consistently, know what you’re going to write before you sit down, drop into the writing flow instantly and find the joy in daily songwriting…

Song Starter Kit

Online Songwriting Course: 

  • Get your ideas out of your head and come up with song ideas whenever you want them.
  • Pick the best songwriting ideas from songs you love and adapt them for your own songs.
  • Outline an entire song in less than five minutes so you know exactly what you want to say in each song section.

If This Hasn’t Solved Your Songwriting Problem Then Dig Deeper With These Articles…

Leave a comment to help other songwriters:

What’s your best solution when it’s hard to start songwriting?

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Picture of Trevor Dimoff

Trevor Dimoff

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

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