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Solving Your Songwriting Excuses

Stop blaming songwriter's block and find solutions to your songwriting excuses... find your songwriting magic, rediscover the fun and start writing again...
Solving Your Songwriting Excuses - sun peaking behind clouds

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Restart your songwriting because songwriter’s block doesn’t exist and songwriting excuses don’t fix anything!

How to Find Your Missing Songwriting Mojo and Reboot your Songwriting

Whether you feel like you’re in a songwriting rut, have forgotten the joy of songwriting, or just haven’t written anything recently….

This is dedicated to every songwriter who has felt the internal struggle to write, avoided songwriting or fallen out of the songwriting habit.

In this article you’ll learn solutions for the most common excuses songwriters use to avoid songwriting. Please leave a comment at the end of this article if you notice an excuse or a solution that isn’t on this list!

Let’s get writing again!

Songwriting Stories and Excuses

The stories we tell shape our reality, how we look at the world and how we react to it.

Excuses are a special kind of story, they explain the “rational reasons” for decisions we make with our emotions. Excuses are (usually) not real, they provide reasons that let us avoid things we emotionally don’t want to do or deal with.

Fixing Your Songwriting Excuses

Once you recognize that your excuses are holding you back, dig deeper and figure out what that excuse is hiding… fear, uncertainty or an unrealistic expectation. Take action and solve it by getting back to your writing. Otherwise you stay stuck, examining the problem instead of writing new songs!

What do you mean I need to know songwriting stuff to write songs, white and orange cat crying out, songwriting meme

“I Don’t Have Time To Write Songs” Excuse 

Life gets in the way… when you let it. I let this happen for almost a decade, so I know how this feels. Maybe tomorrow, except tomorrow never comes!

How long did you spend on FaceBook / Instagram / Netflix in the past week?

You need to make the time. Make it a priority. Make a change to your thinking and your actions.

Start with a small manageable session… 5-10 minutes. Play with lyric ideas, play your guitar or keyboard… do something!

Sorry, I just trashed your best excuse… but I’m just getting warmed up!

“I’ll Write Tomorrow” Excuse

This insidious variation of the “I don’t have time” excuse is a delay tactic… procrastination is okay because “I’ll do it later or tomorrow or next week. The truth is, tomorrow never comes. Be honest with yourself… unless you do something differently, you won’t write later. You’ll just use this story again so feel good about yourself because it’s easier than getting down to business.

“Waiting for Inspiration” Excuse

The mistaken belief you can only write when you feel inspired comes from the mistaken that songwriting is or should be easy. That’s how amateurs think… you’re better than that!

The best way to find inspiration is to look for it, not wait for it! Show up and try writing… I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve started writing when I felt tired or bored or disinterested and finished feeling rejuvenated and excited because I did something creative…. I wrote. There were times when it was complete trash, but the act of creating gave me energy.

The truth is the more often you show up, the easier it gets to show up.

“I’m Not Sure How To Write My Song” Excuse 

I’m not sure what I’m doing. I don’t know what to write next for my song. I have an awesome song idea but I can’t write it fast enough. I have the music written but can’t find the right words. I’ve got the lyrics but I can’t find the music for them.

Build a dependable songwriting process that you use to channel your inspiration and focus your songwriting efforts.

You can work out your own songwriting process, but it can take a long time. For a faster way you can click the button below and enter your email address… I’ll send you a video and PDF download that explains an effective songwriting process to help you write a song chorus.

Learn to Write a Song Chorus

“I Don’t Know What to Write About” Excuse 

Hoping for inspiration to strike? Staring into space as you randomly strum guitar chords? Gazing at your keyboard wondering what to play? 

Inspiration comes faster when you’re prepared. Regular writing sessions are the easiest way to make room for inspiration. 

Even when you’re ready for it, there are times when you’re stuck for something to write:

“I’m Not Good Enough” Excuse 

Comparing yourself to other songwriters is a great way to create songwriting problems for yourself. You know about all of your troubles, problems and weaknesses… what you see and hear from other songwriters and performers is typically only their best. You don’t see their bad hair days and epic fails. You don’t hear their weak terrible songs that they’ve never released. You don’t hear their internal struggles, like you hear and live your own inner conflict.

Measure your success against your past and strive to improve against yourself. Comparing yourself to others leads to trouble. 

A variation on “I’m not good enough” is the “You’re Born A Songwriter” myth fueled by a false belief that you either “have it” or you don’t… master songwriters, musicians, athletes and the leaders in every field have super human gifts or powers that magically make them better than everyone else. Talent and natural ability might help you start, but they also practice harder than everyone else to improve their craft. 

Don’t fall for it… take back your power and put in the necessary work!

“Songwriting is a Waste of My Time” Excuse 

This excuse is usually a result of negative experiences, someone slammed your song and you took it as a personal insult, rather than your song. Why put myself out there if I’m going to get hurt?

The other common cause for this excuse is feeling like you’re doing the right things but not getting the results. If your hard work doesn’t get results then why do the work?

The best answer for both of these causes is to find the joy in songwriting!

Songwriting should be fun (most of the time). “Fun” in this context is becoming so focused you “lose time”… you don’t notice time passing. You’re so engaged in creating music that the last hour of songwriting felt like a few minutes.

“I Don’t Want to Disturb Others” Excuse 

You need a quiet, safe place and time to write. You need a supportive environment and family. Establish clear boundaries and explain them to others. You also need to make music out loud. It’s distracting to worry about bothering others with your singing or playing. The only time I accept this excuse is late at night when silent lyric writing and playing with headphones are temporary fixes. 

Create a space to write without interruptions or distractions. Choose a time to write when you won’t be disturbed. I sneak in writing time on my lunch hour and late at night. I also block off time in advance.

“My Songwriting is Stuck” Excuse… I Have Songwriter’s Block

“Songwriter’s Block” is an excuse… it’s a magical phrase that lets you evade responsibility for your own songwriting. As an all encompassing term, “songwriter’s block” creates a new problem by hiding the original reason you feel stuck.

You can get stuck on a song or feel like your songwriting is stalled, but it’s a temporary state of mind. Digging into the root cause(s) will get you unstuck. Brainstorming will get you unstuck. Stopping the worry about how good your song is gets you unstuck. That’s why I believe:

If you think your “block” is minor or you’re looking for a kick in your songwriting pants here are: 7 Ways to Solve Songwriter’s Block (I know it’s a myth, but everyone calls it songwriter’s block and it sounded better than “7 Ways to Solve Your Messed Up Songwriting)

“I Haven’t Been Writing / I Lost My Songwriting Habit” Excuse 

I can’t remember the last time I wrote anything. I’ve lost my songwriting habit. I don’t feel like songwriting….

Get started again, start small, do something “songwriting.” 

Play one of your old songs. Read your old songwriting notes. Revise an almost finished song.

For 10 minutes try one of these:

  • Brainstorm new title ideas.
  • Brainstorm lyric ideas for a song title. 
  • Choose four chords and brainstorm possible chord progressions with them. 
  • Write a cool riff. 

Listen to songs you love. Talk to other musicians and songwriters. Go to a live show. 

Return to your songwriting roots and remember what got you songwriting in the first place: 

Bonus: Your Biggest Songwriting Problem is Unrealistic Expectations

Behind many of these excuses lurks the dreaded “Unrealistic Expectations” dilemma, believing that you aren’t good enough… that you can or should be able to do something that you honestly can’t. Often it comes from about songwriters (like the “I wrote that song in a day” stories) or comparing yourself to other songwriters (that are professionals and write every day).

You hear things like this in your head:

  • My songs aren’t good enough
  • I’m not good enough
  • I’m not talented
  • I should be able to… write a song in a day / write a hit song / write without any struggle
  • Insert random excuse
  • Blah, blah, blah…

You have to find a way to set these expectations aside. Focus on the joy in the act of writing. Don’t “write a song” … write something… anything… just write!

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

Songwriting Excuses: Summary

Songwriting takes energy, it’s active… you have to constantly think and make decisions. This takes mental and emotional energy. If you’re already tired it can feel like too much work, so you choose another activity that’s less intense… 

What’s on FaceBook / Instagram / YouTube / Netflix?

You have to take responsibility and sit down and get some work done. The question is:

Why haven’t you? What are you thinking and feeling that’s holding you back?

Use that answer to take appropriate action… setting yourself up so that you write.

Now, sit down in a quiet place and spend a little time songwriting, don’t expect anything except a bit of fun!

Transform These Negative Statements into Positive Thinking…

  • Ii don’t have time to write songs = I need to prioritize songwriting and make the time for it
  • I’m not sure how to write my song = I need to try writing songs and learn more about songwriting
  • I don’t know what to write about = I can write about anything, what do I want to write about
  • I’m not good enough = I’m a songwriter. I write songs.
  • Songwriting is a waste of my time = I can enjoy my songwriting process instead of stressing over the results
  • I don’t want to disturb others = I can make the time and space for songwriting
  • My songwriting is stuck / I have songwriter’s block = This feeling goes away when I work on my songwriting
  • I haven’t been writing / I lost my songwriting habit = So, it’s time to sit myself down and try it again.
  • Your biggest songwriting problem is unrealistic expectations = You need a reality check… songwriting requires consistent effort, if it was easy everyone would be a songwriter!

Please leave a comment to help other songwriters…

What other excuses or solutions would you add to this list?

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Trevor Dimoff

Trevor Dimoff

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

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