EpicSongWriting

Transforming Musicians into Songwriters

Finish More Songs

Finish more of your songs with this simple songwriting hack... learn how to complete what you start instead of starting songs that you never finish!
Finish More Songs using the "Next Best Song" Hack

Table of Contents

Finish More of Your Songs with this Simple Songwriting Hack…

Does This Sound Familiar?

  • You have great ideas for songs, but after working on an idea for a while… you get distracted by a new song you want to write.
  • Your ideas seem great and full of potential when you start but the song never turns out as great as you imagined.
  • It’s more fun and interesting to start a song than finish it… so you don’t finish them!

I figured out a simple workflow hack that helps me finish more songs… and it’s free, just keep reading.

Here’s What Was Happening

  • I have too many song ideas. I get them all the time, they come faster than I can write them.
  • I’d get an awesome idea
  • Start a song with that idea
  • Work on it a bit, but then
  • Have another idea that’s more interesting
  • So I’d start another song
  • I’d “forget” the first partial song, and the second
  • Because by now I’d started three more…
  • Five partial songs, nothing finished so far that month….
Mistakes are okay as long as you learn from them... border collie trying to get ball unstuck

Shiny New Toy Syndrome

It’s new and shiny so I’d forget about my other toys and play with the new one… until I’d find yet another shiny new toy!

There are stages we all go through while writing a song.

The Initial Rush, ooh great idea, I want to play with that!

Start Making it Happen… the chorus done, first verse is almost done… then I get distracted by smaller details and cause a slow down in the song’s progress

Slow Down, progress slows or stops, decisions become harder towards the middle or end of writing a song, each decision has a smaller result, eventually it’s about little details instead of the big picture

Distraction… ooh, a different great idea, I want to play with that instead! It’s easier to switch to the new song than to be decisive and finish the last one first

These phases are scientifically documented emotional states all people experience as they work on big projects. 

When a song “slows down” for me, I’d switch to another, until that one slows down too, then I‘d start another… instead of following through, I jump around to avoid having to finish anything….

So I decided to start every writing session with my Next Song…

I can do anything I want after spending time on my Next Song!

Always focused on improving, my Next Song should be my best yet, so I upgraded it to:

My “Next Best Song”

I still have dozens of new song ideas a month, but I can finish song a month.

My numbers would be much higher but I also have a second folder

Next Best Blog Post

And now I’m also averaging two blog posts and a dozen blog post ideas / outlines a month.

Update: from June 2020 to June 2021 I published a YouTube video and a songwriting article every week for a year.

I totally put my songwriting ideas in here somewhere! Cat sitting in a garden

Next Best Song: Rules

Adjust these so they work for you and your songwriting process.

  • Work on Next Best Song for at least ten minutes first thing every songwriting session
  • Keep working on Next Best Song until it’s finished 
    • (pick your specific goal. I usually expect a typed lyric sheet & vocal and guitar iphone demo)
  • Pick a new Next Best Song, write until that one is done

Problems with Your Next Best Song

You have to Remember to do it!

Make a point of creating a habit. It feels easier to keep old habits than create new ones.

Sometimes you get busy, that’s okay. Remember that the hardest time to restart is the day after you’ve already skipped work.

Sometimes other songs are more attractive, spend more time on them – it’s okay if you finish it quickly, but try to pay attention to finishing Next Best Song.

Avoid changing your Next Best Song, finish it!

An unfinished song is an evaporating dream, dandelion with seeds blowing away

Action Steps to Finish More Songs

  • Start a Next Best Song folder, binder or notebook.
  • Commit yourself to working on your Next Best Song at the start of every songwriting session, try giving yourself a 10 minute minimum
  • Keep up the momentum, make decisive decisions, finish the song before starting another
  • If a new song is really exciting and comes easily, spend time working on it (after your Next Best Song)
  • Keep other song ideas and outlines in your “current songs” folder, binder, notebook
  • Try giving yourself a deadline… I found making it a slightly sooner than you think is comfortable usually speeds up my songwriting without really sacrificing quality.

Leave a comment to help other songwriters….

How do you keep your songwriting on track? 

More Articles to Focus Your Songwriting

Trevor Dimoff

Trevor Dimoff

Trevor Dimoff has taught, played and written music professionally for the last 25+ years.
Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on pinterest
Pinterest

Leave a comment to help other songwriters...

More Songwriting Articles

More Songwriting Articles

Need Your Love - Song Breakdown - Song Analysis

Need Your Love

Need Your Love: a love song about your one love… a breakdown and analysis of an original song so you can learn to write better songs…

Read More »

If you can play songs,

you can learn to write songs…

Learn:

How to Write a Song Chorus:

Lyrics, Melody and Chords…