Identifying and solving the songwriting problems you create for yourself.
“Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right.”
Attributed to Henry Ford
Songwriting is difficult to start with, don’t make it harder on yourself… make songwriting easier!
To write excellent songs you have to balance interesting lyrics, with a memorable melody, supporting musical accompaniment, emotional performance, a great recording and effective publicity so your audience gets to hear it….
It’s difficult because there are countless variables to play with, from choosing what to write about, to how to write and then perform it.
Don’t waste time or make things more difficult with: negative attitudes and self deprecating thinking.
Make songwriting easier with a positive attitude… learn how to solve problems instead of examining problems!
There are detailed action steps so you can solve these songwriting problems after the review of the most common ways we make songwriting (and other things in our lives) harder!
How You Make Songwriting Harder for Yourself
There’s a long history of popular songwriting. You aren’t inventing anything new, you’re standing on the shoulders of those that wrote before you. The more songs you know, the more songwriting ideas you have to draw on for your own songwriting.
Professional songwriters all have a songwriting process that they can depend on…. they know the most effective way for them to write a song. Every song is different and you don’t have to use the exact same process each time. However, creating a new songwriting process from scratch for every song is a waste of your songwriting time and potential.
Spend time developing the most effective songwriting process for yourself.
If you’ve having trouble with your songwriting process, click to enter your email address and I’ll send you How to Write a Song Chorus, a dependable songwriting process to write lyrics and music.
Negative Self Talk
Any statement that includes a “no” in any form is a negative statement. The most damaging “no” is “never”
- I can’t…
- I won’t…
- I shouldn’t…
- I’ll never…
And stop the self depreciating talk!
- Don’t belittle yourself!
- Don’t focus on your difficulties and weaknesses!
- Don’t put yourself down!
To rephrase these statements as Positives
- Be kind to yourself!
- Focus on your strengths!
- Build yourself up!
We say meaner things to ourselves than we’d ever say to our friends or enemies!
Tell yourself “I want to” instead of “I should”
“I want” is a desire.
“I should” is an expectation you are putting on yourself, often it is one that you don’t truly believe in… otherwise you would want to do it!
Negative Self Stories
Any statements or stories that include:
- I’m bad at….
- I will never be able to….
- I don’t like to….
- I’m weak at….
Are self reinforcing stories. You get what you ask for, you become what you say to yourself.
Sometimes they‘re grounded in a past experience, but many of these memories seem more painful, embarrassing or traumatic than they really were. Think of them as a challenge to overcome instead of an obstacle to stop you from doing something.
I don’t particularly like my singing voice… I’ve disliked singing since I was a kid. I have told myself “I don’t like singing!” countless times. There are a few reasons and memories that started it, but I have done more damage to myself by repeating this “story” to myself. It became a mantra to avoid singing or situations where I might have to sing. It took a long time to get out of my own head and just cut loose and sing.
Taking vocal lessons helped the most… learning how to sing properly, by controlling my inhale, resonating properly and reducing tension by loosening up my throat, tongue and soft palate.
With proper training, I learned to sing better then I began enjoying it!
Check Your Inner Dialogue
What you say to yourself. Most of our self chatter goes unnoticed, it’s a constant background noise. Once you start listening for it, you can start doing something about the negative, self deprecating lies you are feeding yourself.
Some negative self talk is how we express self doubt… not believing in ourselves or our abilities. You can learn from your self doubt instead of limiting yourself!
Try telling someone they are negative… the most common answer is: “I’m not negative!”
Thanks for proving my point….
The tough one is recognizing it in ourselves! When you are spinning on a problem instead of trying to find solutions, you are being negative. When you are having a conversation about a problem, you are being negative… think about fixing it, or changing how you react to a problem.
Stop making excuses for yourself and for others….
Excuse = I have no control because it’s not my fault
I’ve stopped with the excuses… in fact I’ve taught myself to just stop talking if excuses start coming out of my mouth. I am okay with explanations as long as they don’t devolve into excuses.
Explanation = I have control and can (will start to) do something positive about it.
You can explain “why it’s difficult”… but don’t fall into “why I can’t” it’s just an excuse!
It’s Easier to Blame that to Solve
People avoid change or making an effort… some seem to enjoy their suffering so much, they tolerate the problem.
Instead of finding a solution and acting on it, they would rather complain or make up excuses. If you can blame someone or something else, you don’t have to change, because it’s not your fault and there’s nothing you can do about it…
Blaming takes less effort than change… don’t get stuck in the blame zone!
How to Make Songwriting Easier – Action Steps
Take Positive Steps to
- What can you do to change the situation?
- What can you do differently?
- Pick one thing to start with….
Take Daily Action
Small steps on a regular basis add up to big progress.
Click to enter your email address and I’ll send you Daily Songwriting, an easy method to create regular productive habits… you can regularly work on songwriting starting with as little as 5 minutes a day.
Create Solutions instead of Examining the Problem
Examining the Problem is talking about and complaining about the difficulties and problems you face. State the problem then move on to spending time considering solutions.
Focus on solutions and turn that into a focus on action.
Take Control of Your Life and Your Inner Dialogue
- Reframe your stories
- Focus on your strengths, while building up your weaknesses
- Accept where you are… understand your weaknesses as part of what makes you a unique individual.
- Instead of complaining, decide on one thing you could do differently… and start doing it!
- Accept responsibility… instead of blaming the world, find ways to improve where you are in the world.
Instead of saying “Nobody listens to my music” find ways to build an audience!
Replace Negative Self-Talk with Positive Self-Talk
Telling someone who is stressed out: “Don’t stress about it!” is frustrating. They get more stressed because if it was that easy, they would already be unstressed! Instead, you have to help them do something about the stress, to make progress towards solving the cause of the stress.
In the same way, you can’t simply tell yourself to “stop the negative self talk” and expect success.
You have to replace it with positive self-talk. One of the easiest solutions is to replace “I’m bad at….” with “I’m getting better at….” (This works best when you are actively doing something to improve so it’s easier to believe what you’re telling yourself)
Choose One of these Actions Steps to Start
Write down your answers and start working on it!
Notice Your Negative Self-Talk – Action Step
- Start a fresh page in your songwriting notebook
- Set a timer for 10 minutes
- Write down all the negative self talk and negative stories you can think of
- Mark the page and add to it whenever you catch yourself
Reframe Your Negative Self Talk – Action Step
- Choose the most damaging self talk to start with….
- Rewrite your negative self talk, pick an example and change how you talk to yourself
- Rewrite your negative and self deprecating stories, pick an example and change how you tell the story
How Can You Solve the Problem – Action Step
- What are the causes of the problem?
- How do you contribute to the problem?
- What are the causes of the problem that are out of your control?
- What could you learn to improve the situation?
- Who can help you improve this problem?
- How can you change the situation? What can you do differently?
Find Solutions – Action Step
- What do you want to do? What do you want to accomplish?
- Write down as many goals as you can think of….
- Pick 3 Goals (maximum) to work on right now
- What could you do to improve towards these goals?
- Pick 1 action for each goal
- Work on it every day!
Note: the opening quote “Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you’re right.” is usually attributed to Henry Ford, first quote in Reader’s Digest in 1947. With a little digging I found an interesting quotation website that traced variations of this quote to many others including the poet Virgil in “the Aeneid” written in 19 BCE… the quote is more than 2000 years old. Nothing like a little background research.