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….
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.
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!
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.