Create a Songwriting Habit to Start Acting Like a Professional
I am a songwriter because of my songwriting… it’s because of my actions!
I write songs but I need to be more consistent…
To create a steady flow of songs, I want to write more and to finish more songs.
No more excuses:
I need to work on my songwriting every day…
Otherwise, I will stay an amateur, with a drawer of half finished songs… stuck as a
Someone who talks about being a songwriter,but doesn’t finish their songs.
Write every day…
It’s time to get addicted to songwriting!
Doing it twice a day. I can do that… I have a way… I’ve done this before…
You need to do it every day = Addiction
What do you need to do? More? Better? Faster?
Tell me the one musical action that you need to do every day… Say it out loud. You need to do it… every day… to go pro… You try, but other stuff gets in the way.
I hear you…
I’ve spoken to many songwriters and musicians… every last one of them went through a period of playing and writing every day. All of them, without exception trained every day before they mastered their craft and felt they could call themself a professional!
- Choose a habit or task, a skill you want to practice every day
- Commit to trying it everyday for a month, no excuses
- Five minutes per day minimum
- Set a timer, no other distractions allowed until the timer ends
- Continue if you are enjoying it, do something else if you aren’t enjoying it
- Positive congratulations for your focus
- Write a few sentences about what you did, choose the starting point for tomorrow
In a little more detail:
1 Pick a Process Goal
A Process Goal is a task or skill you want to improve with steady effort, for example:
songwriting, lyric writing, singing, vocal warm ups, learning new songs, playing a new instrument, remembering how to play that dusty instrument hiding in your closet, writing poetry, writing blog posts, working on instrumental technique, playing scales….
One Habit at a Time:
Focus on changing one habit at a time… once you have a solid shift in your routine you can consider adding other new habits. Other things will change for the better as you progress, let them happen too, but don’t try to force change too quickly
2 No excuses…
seriously… not kidding. The first obstacle is starting…once you break the procrastination it can become easy to do things you know you need to be doing.
the hardest part of practicing is opening the case, when my instruments are out on their stands I play them more often, make it easy to get started and you will….
3 Set an easily achievable goal
to create momentum as you change your habits… line up small successes until you can do them automatically.
Many drops make an ocean (either I just made up this proverb, or it’s 2000+ years old)
Let’s be real, if you truly enjoy what you have chosen to do, it will rarely be for only 5 minutes, but if it’s a struggle day, you can do the time and step away without guilt. If you can’t carve out 5 minutes from 24 hours, you are lying to yourself… 5 minutes is the same as hitting the snooze button once in the morning, black coffee cooling to drinking temperature, eating a bowl of cereal if you don’t slurp the milk, making and eating a sandwich, brushing your teeth properly three times a day, less than the commercials in 30 minutes of cable TV, or the total time of all the YouTube ads you watched today
4 You are developing your focus,
devote your attention to this moment and this task, go do one thing well. Stop trying to multitask… multitasking is the ability to do several things poorly, every time you stop the flow for a distraction or to shift to another task, you have to spend time getting back into the flow.
5 Results vary
Some days 5 minutes feels like a day, usually 15 minutes feels like 5, sometimes I loose track of hours of time….
6 You worked on your craft today, congratulations!
You will do it again tomorrow…. Avoid self-criticism: if today’s efforts are disappointing, go again tomorrow… daily progress. You practiced something you want to do… awesomeness!
7 Write Session Notes:
(Don’t skip this step!) close your session with a moment to think about your effort, write down (and keep track of)
- what you did well today
- an idea for improvement
- what you want to do tomorrow
When you choose your starting point for tomorrow, you create a link to tomorrow’s session so you can quickly return to the flow.
Writer’s block solved! Percolate on it, have a good sleep, tomorrow is a new day. Arrive ready to explore and experiment… it’s what you really want to do….
Bonus – Track your efforts
- You don’t need an app! This can be as easy as a check mark on your calendar for today. Put another tomorrow….
Make a choice to do it, no exceptions. Say “I will” not “I will try….”
After week two, you start to notice that you want to do it automatically…. When you feel you are supposed to do something… It is easier to get it done than tolerate the ongoing nag on yourself to go do it…. Addiction!
5 minutes, seriously… go to bed 5 minutes later, how hard is that?
- What do you want to become addicted to?
- Bookmark this page / Facebook / email this page to yourself (or try Bonus Action Step 1… below)
- Write down the skill you want to practice everyday
- Choose a place and time you will do it today
- Do it today then tomorrow
- Write about it
Bonus Action Step 1:
If you haven’t already read it, click here for Daily Songwriting… where I explain this process in even more detail!
Bonus Action Step 2:
Talking and writing about it makes it easier to do it… by commenting below: