Transforming Musicians into Songwriters

The Songwriting Cycle: Solutions for the 5 Phases of Songwriting

Songwriting Cycle: solutions for you songwriting problems... fixing your songwriting problems by working through the 5 phases of songwriting to finish songs...
Songwriting Cycle-Solutions for the 5 Phases of Songwriting

Table of Contents

There are 5 Phases of Songwriting you must go through to write and finish a popular song.

Solve your songwriting problems by examining and improving how you move through these 5 songwriting phases so you finish your songs!

If you’re wondering why you aren’t finishing your songs

Why it takes so long to write a song

Why songs start off great but then fizzle out, or

Your songs are never as great as you imagined them to be….

You need to figure out the solution… reading another 7 tips for better songwriting blog post isn’t enough.

Quick Story

A few years ago I noticed that I was blocking myself, saying “no” to songwriting choices before I even finished the thought. I was editing myself while I was writing… 

I finally realized I was trying to do two things at once, writing and editing. They’re two different phases of songwriting and I was blocking myself trying to do both at once.

I solved this block by… 

Visualizing my songwriting through this framework helps me fix my songs.

I hear the songs faster, imagining them in greater detail.

Feeling the different phases and switching easily between them lets me write whenever I want with fewer blocks or songwriting slow downs. 

The 5 Phases of Songwriting

  1. Write
  2. Edit
  3. Test
  4. Level Up
  5. Publish & Publicize
5 Phases of Songwriting, the songwriting cycle

The “Write” Phase of Songwriting

Improvisation, Imagination, Inspiration, Freestyling

Music magically appears

The muses whisper in your ear

Can you scribble the words down fast enough before they fade?

Or record a voice memo on your phone

The “Edit” Phase of Songwriting

Erasing, changing, rewriting

Once you have written lines or rhymes you can change the, try different combinations

rewriting, changing, moving around, deleting, erasing

Once you have written a few lines, start sculpting them, trimming words or adding others

I will write a page of notes and ideas and lines… and find a few great lines 

Then edit and put them on a new page

You can choose to start writing and improvising and writing everything you can 

I spend most of my songwriting time between the writing and editing phases

The “Test” Phase of Songwriting

Listen to it yourself, play for audience

Does it sound good, do I like it?

get useful feedback to take back to the write and edit phases

The “Level Up” Phase of Songwriting

move song along to the next level

For example, you finish a section of the song. My typical workflow is finish the: 

  • Chorus
  • 1st verse
  • Next verse(s) 
  • Pre-chorus, if needed
  • Bridge, if needed
  • Song Form – organize your sections, choose the order, connect sections together
  • Add instrumentation, accompaniment
  • Until you finish the First Draft
  • Rewrite & Edit the Next Drafts
  • Final Draft

The “Publish & Publicize” Phase of Songwriting

The song is done and the songwriting cycle is completed. It’s time to record your song and then release it to the world!

Your goals, budget and skills all affect the product you can produce and publish. Whether it’s a phone demo you post on social media or a professionally produced song or video.

Publicizing your songs is telling your target audience about them so they can hear and love your music.

Levels of Publishing Audio

Levels of Publishing Video

  • iphone video
  • edited video, 
  • homemade video to 
  • professional video

The last step in songwriting is publishing your song so it sounds as great as you can make it, then publicizing it so people that would love your music can hear and enjoy it!

More Songwriting Articles to Help Smoothly Move Through the 5 Phases of Songwriting

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Picture of Trevor Dimoff

Trevor Dimoff

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

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