But songwriters are weird. Some of them are technicians – counting syllables, building themes, planning melodic call backs and spending hours on their songs. Other songwriters are bohemian – they write from their hearts, don’t have a system and generally just feel their way through the music.
All of this creates a strange dynamic. Since there are no two songwriters the same, it can be challenging sometimes when they get together. If you’re a songwriter, I want to encourage you to stay away from these ten statements when hanging out with other writers. It’ll go better for you, I promise.
“I HATE THAT” (general)
Be careful about throwing hate around. Perhaps identifying some song or band you can’t stand will make a good impression, but probably not. And in the very connected world in which we live, you never know if you’re hating on somebody the other writer loves (or is related to…)
“I HATE THAT” (co-writing)
Co-writing is scary enough without you smashing the other writer’s dream. If you don’t like something that’s been suggested, make sure you’re kind in your response. Be honest, but also be nice.
“THIS IS GOOD”
I know some songwriters who tack this on when they send me something they wrote. “Here’s a new worship chorus I wrote. It’s really good, man.” Listen, if you’ve written something good, you won’t have to tell anybody. They’ll know it. Plus, you sound like a punk bragging on yourself.
“NOBODY GETS IT”
We’ve all written stuff that fell flat. Be careful you don’t blame somebody every single time. Sure, some songs are great and end up not working. But some songs are just bad. Just own your bad songs. They do diminish as you write more, I promise.
“THIS IS A HIT”
I know that feeling. Something happens and a song just comes out of you. It’s good. It’s better than anything you’ve ever written and you’re pumped about it. So in the quiet of your room or studio, you start telling yourself you’ve created a hit. But that’s probably not the case. Worry less about a song become famous (locally, regionally, nationally) and focus more on a song connecting with people. Plus, it’s always wise to wait until you’ve actually played a song in front of other humans (who aren’t your family) before you decide it’s a masterpiece.
Anybody got other songwriter horror-stories? What other dumb stuff do we say?