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Songwriting 7 Healthy Side Effects

Songwriting: 7 Healthy Side Effects


(There are also songwriting actions steps below them, to help you increase these effects!)


1. Joy

Songwriting should be fun and bring joy to your life. It’s exciting to learn how to drop into the flow and create something no one has heard yet. If songwriting isn’t happy then you are likely doing something wrong or your expectations might be higher than you are reaching. There’s a solution… even if it isn’t always clear. Start by honestly listening to yourself, and if you still need help… email me by clicking here!


2. Emotional Therapy

“Playing music is cheaper than therapy” is an old musician joke.


When you channel emotions into your songwriting, or singing or playing… you access emotions without reliving them, recalling them without being overwhelmed. You express your emotions, instead of bottling them up. Flush out your negativity, your toxic emotions, clear the garbage out of your head… and process emotional turmoil by writing about your experiences and feelings.

My favorite therapy is to rewrite my personal stories, changing pity to empowerment. For example: instead of focusing on “I’m a mess because of you left me”, try “I’m better off with you gone” or “I’m better here, now that you aren’t”

As a bonus, you can better control your own emotions in your daily life, because you have been activating them safely through your music.



3. Improved Problem Solving Skills

Writing a song is answering a series of questions or solving several related problems… what to write about, what do you want to say, what words should you use in the chorus, what melodies and chords will fit the lyrics, what …. ?

Creating a song is solving a puzzle, creating the chorus and the verses as sections of the puzzle you are assembling. Each choice or decision in the songwriting process is a further step in “solving” the puzzle.


4. Increased Creativity

Songwriting, like other creative actions, is creating connections between different ideas. Sometimes the relationships are obvious but you use new ways to describe them… sometimes you use ideas that seem to be in opposition. You notice connections and point them out in your music.

This is also called Lateral Thinking , or “thinking outside the box”… I also think of it as: “realizing there is no box!” 


5. Focus on Now

“Falling into the Flow” or “writing from the heart” or “being in the zone” is where your songwriting is most intense. You forget about time and distractions and you create. You are committed to what you are doing and in the moment, instead of distracting yourself. It’s addictive, once you learn how.

Clearing your head, instead of listening to the chatter of your internal dialogue, is helpful in songwriting, music performance and in your life too. Learn how to write freely, without letting your inner editor distract you. 


6. Improved Observational Skills

When you look around and listen to people, and really pay attention, you will find songwriting inspiration all around you. Notice the details of life, the little things that happen around, how people move and interact, what people say (and what they don’t say).


7. Enhanced Imagination

Songwriting is imagining ideas and sounds, then finding a way to write and play and record them for your audience. The more you work out your imagination, the stronger it gets. Especially if you have a workout plan and feed your imagination healthy thoughts!


2 Bonus Side Effects

I always aim for an epic results, here are 2 more than I promised:


8. Refined Communication Skills

Songwriting is communicating, either emotions, or opinions, or imaginings… lyric writing is communicating through words and rhythms and rhymes. Lyric writing builds your language skills and your sensitivity to words. Setting lyrics to music is another skill set that you can use to communicate. Using instrumental music, to evoke emotions, without using words is a third method of communication you can develop.


9. Learn to Change Your Perspective

When you write a song, it can be from any perspective. Often it is from our own perspective and experience. But you can imagine and write from another person’s point of view, or express opinions that aren’t yours. You can project someone else’s outlook, see the world from a different angle. Empathy, sympathy and perspective all rolled into one!



Action Steps to Escalate the Effects


1. Daily / Regular Habits

Do it every day, even if it’s a short amount. It’s easy to skip a day, but then it often becomes two or you don’t get back to it…

Instead, try to build a habit of a small amount each day. It’s great if you can do more, but give yourself a daily minimum requirement.


Click below to learn my system.


2. Focus on the Process instead of the Product

  • Have fun with it, don’t get stressed out or expect too much 
  • If you aren’t getting joy out of it, you are doing it wrong
  • Put your energy and attention into how you write, rather than how much you write.
  • Decide on regular schedule (start with a few minutes a day) and stick with it
  • Measure your success by how you feel at the end of a session, not how many words your wrote
  • Measure your success by how many times you wrote, not how long you wrote for, or how many songs you finished last month.
  • Plan to work regularly, instead of trying to sit down to write a whole song in one session.


I explain process and product goals more thoroughly in this article



3. Focus on the positive, instead of dwelling on negative experiences and possibilities

Keep your attention on positive self talk and positive action, rather than negative history or past experiences…  it makes your whole life more enjoyable. Notice when you have doubts and when you let them get in the way of your success!


Be happy with what you are doing. If you enjoy songwriting and are satisfied with your songwriting sessions, you will be able to bring this happiness into other areas of your life. If you are down on yourself or negative about your art, it will follow you too.



Know you need to write songs to stay healthy and go do it!


Help other songwriters and leave a comment:

What are your favorite songwriting side effects?

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