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5 Rookie Songwriting Mistakes

Every songwriter experiences these rookie mistakes at some point. Learn how to solve them before you get stuck, frustrated or give up on songwriting!
5 Rookie Songwriting Mistakes and how to stop doing them

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Every songwriter experiences these rookie mistakes at some point. Learn how to solve them before you get stuck, frustrated or give up on songwriting!

These are all natural mistakes or assumptions… every songwriter has made them or believed them at some point in their songwriting journey. Learn about them and solve them now so they can’t limit you any longer…

Below the video lesson is a written transcript. I’ve added Songwriting Solutions with bonus ideas and links to other songwriting resources so you stop making these songwriting mistakes!

Video Transcript (With Bonus Solutions)

Here are 5 Rookie Songwriting Mistakes that every songwriter makes and how you can solve them so you don’t get stuck or discouraged. They are normal mistakes or assumptions that every songwriter makes at some point.

Hi, I’m Trevor Dimoff, I transform musicians into songwriters at EpicSongWriting.com. Like this video if you learn something, and click the links in the description for more songwriting solutions to these mistakes.

5 Rookie Songwriting Mistakes are:

1. Imaginary Songwriting

2. Waiting for Inspiration 

3. Songwriting should be Easy

4. Instant Awesome, and

5. Do It Yourself Songwriting 

Now the details and solutions so you stop making them…

Songwriting Mistake #1 – Imaginary Songwriting

Rookie Songwriting Mistake 1 - Imaginary Songwriting

“I’ve got this killer idea for a song, everyone will love it. It’ll be a massive hit” or

“I can almost hear my song. My imagination goes into overdrive, when I sit down to write everything will fall into place and I’ll write the entire song in an hour.”

Unfortunately, it’s easier to imagine a finished song than working through all the details to actually write it. 

Humans naturally underestimate how long it takes to do things. We’ve also heard stories of songwriters that wrote a hit song in under an hour. When you start writing don’t get overwhelmed and frustrated when it isn’t as fast or easy as you imagined. 

what do you mean i have to work at my songwriting, sleeping grey cat, songwriting meme, songwriting advice that works

Songwriting Solution for Imaginary Songwriting

Slow down and enjoy your songwriting journey, even if it takes a while to write that song and it’s not as amazing as you first expected. Even experienced songwriters will sometimes take days or weeks or months to get a song to a point where they’re satisfied with it and that’s okay!

Songwriting Mistake #2 – Waiting for Inspiration

Rookie Songwriting Mistake 2 - Waiting for Inspiration

“I don’t know what to write about, maybe I’ll try songwriting tomorrow.” 

This is sometimes a fear that you’ll waste time and get nothing… so you don’t try at all.

The problem is that inspiration follows action, you can train yourself to find great song ideas when you start writing. If you don’t write, you only get random bits and pieces of songs. It takes practice to string together ideas and write a song. If you don’t practice you don’t build these skills. 

Nobody expects a professional athlete to compete without training or practicing their sports skills. Why should music skills be different? Imagine your improvement if you practiced guitar or piano everyday for a year. Nice, eh? Now, how different would it be if you only practiced when you felt like it. Have you ever been in a bad mood, then played. With the right attitude, you fall into your playing and walk away in a great mood. Songwriting can work for you in the same way.

Start writing inspiration follows actions, close up photo of a microphone grill, songwriting meme

Songwriting Solution for Waiting for Inspiration

Inspiration doesn’t find you, you need to go find it.

Do inspiring things, live an interesting life

Sit yourself down and do some work… some days will be good, others might not. That’s how songwriting works.

Songwriting Mistake #3 – Songwriting Should Be Easy

Rookie Songwriting Mistake 3 - Believing Songwriting should be easy

Music should feel like play. Songwriting should be play. You shouldn’t have to force it and songwriting should never be a struggle. 

Sure, songwriting can be playful, but like anything else that’s important it also takes effort. 

Generally, the more experience you have, the easier songwriting becomes. But even professional songwriters have struggle days or songs that are difficult to finish. Songwriting should be fun, but it has an emotional component, so it’s not always predictable. Accept that songwriting takes time, effort and isn’t always simple. To write well and improve, you need to push yourself out of your comfort zone, and that isn’t always easy.

Songwriting tips were lies they all said songwriting is easy, dejected cat's sad face, songwriting meme, songwriting advice that works

Songwriting Solution for Songwriting Should Be Easy

“Should” is a red flag word… be careful anytime you catch yourself using the word. It usually means “I wish reality was like I dream it… instead of reality!”

In music, whether it’s playing or writing it, training and experience are more important than talent.

Just because a pop song sounds simple, doesn’t mean it was simple or easy to write!

I took a swing at this mistake in this article (and video):

Songwriting Mistake #4 – Instant Awesome

Rookie Songwriting Mistake 4 - Believing in Instant Awesome

“I’ve written my first song, how do I get a job as a songwriter?”

It’s hard to get a realistic perspective on your own songs. Just because you love it, doesn’t mean it’s hit quality. Every professional songwriter has written songs you’ll never hear because those songs weren’t very good. Start with writing songs for yourself and enjoying the songwriting process before trying to impress people or change the world with your music. Be patient, that comes later. 

we have a plan right? two bordercollies sitting in the front seats of a car, songwriting meme

Songwriting Solution for Instant Awesome 

Practice… sorry but truth is truth!

Songwriting Mistake Number 5. Do It Yourself  Songwriting

Rookie Songwriting Mistake 5 - Do It Yourself Songwriting - Believing you can do everything yourself

The DIY songwriting mistake has two sides: 

1 – I can do everything myself and 

2 – I can learn everything about songwriting all on my own.

I can do everything myself: I can write lyrics, the music, play it, record it, produce it, master it, publicize it. Digital Audio Workstations have made home recording accessible. You don’t have to record in a professional studio. But most professional singer songwriters record their albums in professional studios because that’s how you get a professional recording.

If you DIY then you have to learn how to record a song, and mix a song and master a song, and then publicize that song. It takes time to learn all these skills. Then you need time and energy to do everything on your own. It’s not better to do everything yourself, but it does take longer.

The other side of this mistake is believing “I can LEARN everything on my own.” Watching YouTube videos and reading free internet advice is helpful, but you can only learn bits and pieces, not an entire songwriting process. 

There’s an old songwriting expression, essentially “You have to write a hundred bad songs before you can write a great song.” It was true in olden times when you couldn’t study songwriting with a teacher, at a music college or university or take an online songwriting course. Consider investing in your songwriting by paying for a songwriting course or lessons. This is a link to the songwriting courses I offer… good songwriting instruction can take months or years off of your learning curve. You don’t have to struggle to figure out songwriting on your own.

Nothing New Happens in your Comfort Zone, Border Collie sleeping, songwriting meme,songwriting advice that makes sense

Songwriting Solution for DIY Songwriting

This is the one that I still fall over… I know how long it takes to learn recording and mixing and mastering skills. I tried to do it on my own and failed miserably until I paid for online courses and studied with a recording and mixing engineer who showed me what to do and how to do it.

I’d have more songs written and recorded but I spend a lot of energy writing about songwriting… and publicity isn’t something I’ve taken the time to learn properly.
I’d be further ahead if I spent more time collaborating with others… at some point you need to start 

Rookie Songwriting Mistakes: Summary

Rookie Songwriting Mistake Summary - Imaginary Songwriting Mistkae, Waiting for Inspiration Mistake, Songwriting is easy mistake, Instant awesome mistake, DIY Songwriting Mistake

Every songwriter has to learn skills to start and then write great songs.

You can get stuck until you learn how to solve these 5 mistakes that every songwriter’s experienced at some point:

1. Imaginary Songwriting

2. Waiting for Inspiration 

3. Believing that Songwriting should be Easy

4. Instant Awesome, and mistake number

5. DIY Songwriting 

Now you’re a step ahead because you’re aware of and know how to solve them!

Thanks for watching (reading!). Like this video (article) if you learned something and check the video description for links to more songwriting solutions. I’m Trevor Dimoff, I teach songwriting at EpicSongWriting.com. Check this playlist for more songwriting videos. When you’ve binged enough videos, go write something better than you wrote last time…

5 Rookie Songwriting Mistakes and how to stop doing them

Leave a comment to help other songwriters…

What was a mistake or myth that slowed you down when you first started songwriting?

Trevor Dimoff

Trevor Dimoff

Trevor Dimoff has taught, played and written music professionally for the last 25+ years.
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