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Don’t Write a Hit

Don’t Write a Hit Song


Every songwriter wants to write a hit song, be immortal… get the fame and fortune prize.

I was sabotaging my songwriting because of it, even though I thought I was too cool to dream about hits…



Songwriting Slow Down

Had a recent case of Songwriting Slow Down…

  • feeling productive
  • writing regularly,
  • not finishing mostly finished songs


You know you have it when you find yourself repeatedly playing the same piece of song without changing anything….



Songwriting Slow Down symptoms include:

  • Appearing productive without producing anything
  • Avoiding finishing songs / projects
  • Questioning own creative decisions
  • Hesitating to make creative decisions
  • Self Doubt
  • Negative self criticism
  • Denial, rarely notice it’s happening… will deny it if confronted with it, or make excuses
  • Extreme cases also include: Whining, Making Excuses, Irritating other people….



My own wrong thinking

In this case I was visualizing income with songwriting royalties… financial security from songwriting… while I was writing (instead of during business planning)

The subconscious script I created was:

successful writing = commercially viable = makes $ => “HIT SONG!”




Commercially viable, Mastered, Radio Ready, ready to be licensed for film, television = everyone makes money!


I was trying to write hit songs… so without realizing it, I measured every creative decision against “HITNESS”

Didn’t know why I didn’t like my own lyrics!

When a song isn’t good enough = song isn’t worthy => don’t finish the song

I played around with songs but didn’t really change anything, or finish anything… wrote some lyrics, but didn’t write any songs!



“Write a Hit” didn’t work for me because I need:

  • Hit Artist to perform my hit
  • FaceBook or YouTube audience large enough to tip my hit song viral
  • Music Journalists and Bloggers to tell people about awesome my hit song
  • Music Broadcasters who know they should play my hit song
  • Good story DJs can tell while spinning my hit song



Next Level Thinking

When a Plan Fails…try Next Level Thinking



1. What is my next level? 

Keep asking until you get an actionable answer…

2. How do I get there?

Ask until you get actionable answers…

3. What do I do next?

Go do it!




So… What’s my next level?


Don't Write a Hit Song



Don’t Write a Hit… Write a Cut


New Goal = Write a Cut, a song is recorded for the world to hear

(This wasn’t an instant answer, it took serious self questioning then phrasing it as an action goal)


  • Artist/Band records your song and releases it
  • Write a song artists want to perform and record.
  • Write a song that one other person loves, instead of trying to please everyone with a Hit.


Success = song is recorded and released



How do I get there?


Cut my own song

Balancing quality, time and money

  • Home studio or professional studio?
  • Perform it myself or hire session singer / musicians?
  • Mix it myself or outsource mixing?

I can perform, record and mix a solid demo, or I can also hire specialists that can do an even better job than I can.



Another artist cuts my song

It could happen… there are ways to improve my chances and more variables beyond my control.

But I still need a Demo to sell anyone on the song… got to hear it before they can love it!

Refer back to cut my own song, so I have some songs to pitch.




Some artists and bands perform their own songs. Might be easier to write with them than write for them.

  • Cowrite with a performer, cowrite with a songwriter in a band
  • They helped create the song
  • Want to perform the song
  • have an emotional connection to the song
  • success of the song becomes their success



Sample Next Level Questions to answer:

  • Who would know who is looking for songs to learn / perform / record
  • Artist / Band members I know socially, who is looking for songs
  • Talk about songwriting with other musicians
  • How can artists hear your song to fall in love with it?
  • How do they learn how to sing / play it?
  • How can you make it easier to cut your song?


Why would an artist cut your song?

  • What needs are your solving with your song?
  • Everyone needs more songs!
  • They love it and create an emotional connection to the song
  • They love performing it
  • Could be a hit song for their audience
  • Writing can be hard and takes time, it’s usually easier/faster to learn someone else’s song
  • Your song could be better than some of their writing
  • You politely suggested the song to them



Why would they write with you?

  • you are a solid songwriter, with a unique perspective to bring to the writing
  • show instead of telling “What’s in it for them!”
  • act and deliver like a professional
  • you asked / offered to work with them… and didn’t sound like an amateur

Never introduce yourself like an amateur again (epicsongwriting)


If you are asking yourself “What’s in it for them?” you need to practice your songwriting and your confidence.



What do I do next?

  • Write songs that I want to perform
  • Write songs other artists want to perform
  • Find artists looking for songs
  • Cowrite songs with friends, band mates, people I know
  • Meet and cowrite songs with performers I don’t know yet


I can do that!



who do I know that might make time to cowrite?



What’s your Next Level?


After a little Next Level Thinking, comment on one or all:

What is your next level?

How do you get there?

What will you do next?


PS. If your next level is “write more…” click the link below to learn how to write songs everyday!

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© Trevor Dimoff,, 2019