Allison

5 Ways to Increase your Productivity as a Songwriter

There are many ways to increase your productivity, not only as a songwriter, but with life in general. There are several Sites, Books and Blogs dedicated to this topic but here are just a few ideas to point you in the right direction if the clock seems to be against you.

Have a Sunday – The key to productivity is having a plan and sticking to it. One great way to make this happen is set aside 30 minutes each Sunday evening before you go to bed to write out what you’d like to accomplish the following week. If you don’t have a plan, you will usually go through the week with aimless ambition always scrambling to catch up on what you would like to get done.

5 things - Along those same lines, each night before you go to bed, take 10 minutes to review what you got done that day and write down the top 5 things you’d like to accomplish the next day. This will keep you focused on what’s most important.

Be specific - ‘Write one new song’ is too general for your mind to do anything with. When you draft your plan, give yourself something detailed to work towards. Example: Complete first verse and hook to new song about old girlfriend who broke my heart at a McDonald’s with a tune similar to ‘I’m a Lil Tea pot’. This gives your mind a direction even if you don’t stick to it completely in the writing phase.

Practice? Practice! – You can’t be a writer if you’re not writing. Make it a habit to write every day. Some ideas are to write a poem, write a short story, describe a photo, write out your feelings/viewpoints, write a love letter and the most obvious….write lyrics. Writing daily helps to develop your imagination as well as your skill with the way words flow naturally. The more you practice, the better and faster you’ll get, which will save you time in the long run.

Just DO it – Once you have a written plan, take action!! If the task at hand isn’t moving you closer to your goal, stop and re-evaluate. Either find a better way, or delegate it to someone else if possible.

Posted by Allison on 04/21/2009 | 27 comments

Comments

oskarchristian
Posted by oskarchristian on May 17 2009 11:52 AM
hi,thanx 4 that advice. i actually check all combinations between, composer, author, editor, and how to make them more interesting. well i guess with my music sheets combined to the mp3 tracks. my question is there any form where i can offer songsheets incl. lyrics, from pdf or finale submit in this form and as well mp3 to get the music listen to it. i miss that form. or am i wrong, because i think a real composer should also to write everything, even i have just the timings, harmony, melodie acords and lyrics still the bassline i could add later to it. well at least in mexico and italy they had discussions in the siae and sacm on tv, that to make to play other musicians your music you have to write it down and send it to several orchesters and musician organisations. well i send some of my last compositions to bolognia orchestra italy, zambra, viaggiare a santa manza, i would like your honests meaning about this. it starts to get very confusing. to many infos every country different? ?? i love your advice too.
                                      Honor Amongst Thieves
Posted by Honor Amongst Thieves on Apr 21 2009 7:35 PM
this is an awesome post. i play drums for my band - but this has given even me inspiration. Nice one.
.COM
Posted by .COM on Apr 21 2009 9:27 PM
I love this post..and I am goin to save it:D
Love it, or get your money back!
Posted by Love it, or get your money back! on Apr 21 2009 10:20 PM
Yessssssssssssssssssss!!!
therisinghedons.bandzoogle.com
Posted by therisinghedons.bandzoogle.com on Apr 22 2009 1:31 AM
Yes. This is what being in a band is really all about. There are thousands of things to do before you will see a penny back, so it is important to complete some of those things everyday. Thanks for the post.
Golden Lamp Recordz
Posted by Golden Lamp Recordz on Apr 22 2009 2:23 AM
[quote="therisinghedons"]Yes. This is what being in a band is really all about. There are thousands of things to do before you will see a penny back, so it is important to complete some of those things everyday. Thanks for the post.[/quote]
Katie Pearlman
Posted by Katie Pearlman on Apr 22 2009 12:09 PM
Nice advice! Thanks Allison!
At Home Ministries
Posted by At Home Ministries on Apr 25 2009 1:23 AM
Sweeeet! Time is short so keeping it organized with direction helps. Thanks Allison!:D
The Terry Hess Band
Posted by The Terry Hess Band on Apr 25 2009 2:34 PM
Great advice Allison! Also wanted to add that the best songs come from writing what you know, as it give you a road map, and is a great starting point for lyrics. If your're vested in what you are writing because it is happening to you or someone, or you saw something that really touched you in either a positive or negative way, the lyrics are going to feel real and not forced, or "made up" . so, next time something/event happens in your daily life that really angers you, or makes you just LOL.... that's when you should be jotting down some things to turn it into lyric/song. Say what you need to say .. , and you will be a prolific songwriter, and never have to worry about getting writer's block. .
fyamusic.bandzoogle.com
Posted by fyamusic.bandzoogle.com on Apr 26 2009 12:01 AM
A great way to increase ur productivity IMO is get a routine down, be organized, surround yourself with people with the same Idea your music and where you want to take it, and vuolaaaaa...
eRIN McKINNeY & HOTT LEDD
Posted by eRIN McKINNeY & HOTT LEDD on Apr 27 2009 6:28 PM
GREAT POST!!! Thank you, Allison! I also want to add a link I found helpful!!! http://www.songwritereducation.com/ Tell them Erin sent you!!!! (only because I get a discount on future purchases lol) But really, check this material out! much love ~e~
Rachel Griffin
Posted by Rachel Griffin on Apr 27 2009 10:22 PM
LOVE it.. awesome advice.. :) :love::love:
The Rhythm
Posted by The Rhythm on Apr 28 2009 10:01 PM
I am a prolific reader. I'm also a prolific writer. I've written probably 1000 songs and usually blast out 2-3 new tunes a week. I think of it as a craft, and a craft is something you work on constantly to improve. I listen to as much music as I can get my hands on and I read a lot - Science Fiction and Fantasy, Mystery novels, Westerns, Suspense, as well as non-fiction about history and politics to name a couple of subjects. Plus I'm a real news junkie. What this has done for me is to train my brain(how do you like that for a rhyme!)to constantly convert input to songs. I've written songs around TV ad campaigns, billboards, and newspaper headlines. A friend of mine overheard a conversation in an airport and told me about a phrase that stood out. Half an hour later, I'd written Happiness Is Only A Lite Beer Away. You can train yourself to find inspiration all around you every day!
BEN RENO
Posted by BEN RENO on Apr 29 2009 6:24 PM
Good Post Allison! It's so encouraging and so true!
Allison
Posted by Allison on Apr 29 2009 11:22 PM
Thanks to everyone for the additional input. Good stuff here. Another good habit to get into is to collect all your writings into one notebook/box/desk drawer or even one area. All those napkin scribbles, post it note phrases, and the like should be kept in one place so it's easier to reference later when you're searching for just the right line or topic. Happy writing!
Working Class Life and Music Festival
Posted by Working Class Life and Music Festival on Apr 30 2009 10:28 AM
Anyone read Getting Things Done by David Allen. I'm almost finished on it and it looks a great way to stay on the ball. There seems to be a cult following on the web too. Just enter GTD into google and you'll see loads of stuff - plus do the same in wikipedia.
Craig Burdette   solo piano
Posted by Craig Burdette solo piano on May 4 2009 12:25 AM
Really good advice, I will try to put these into use. I have one other great bit of advice from Stephen Sondheim (composer and lyricist of Sweeney Todd) which helps me a lot: "The worst thing you can do is censor yourself as the pencil hits the paper. You must not edit until you get it all on paper. If you can possibly put everything down, stream-of-consciousness, no matter how clichéd it may seem, you'll do yourself a service." He said that if you find yourself writing lyrics, such as "I love you" and immediately think to yourself "Oh Jesus, I can't, it's just too flat, it's too..." well, if you start thinking that way you won't write anything. Have fun & just let it all out!
The Rhythm
Posted by The Rhythm on May 4 2009 6:13 AM
[quote="burdeck"]Really good advice, I will try to put these into use. I have one other great bit of advice from Stephen Sondheim (composer and lyricist of Sweeney Todd) which helps me a lot: "The worst thing you can do is censor yourself as the pencil hits the paper. You must not edit until you get it all on paper. If you can possibly put everything down, stream-of-consciousness, no matter how clichéd it may seem, you'll do yourself a service." He said that if you find yourself writing lyrics, such as "I love you" and immediately think to yourself "Oh Jesus, I can't, it's just too flat, it's too..." well, if you start thinking that way you won't write anything. That's part of the process of becoming a good writer. You write everything down, than start editing. As you go through that process, you start to train your brain to edit in real time, so to speak. Your writing gets better and better, and you end up editing less as you mature your talent. Have fun & just let it all out![/quote]
Alberta Records
Posted by Alberta Records on May 4 2009 8:25 PM
[quote="therhythmmethod"] [quote="burdeck"]Really good advice, I will try to put these into use. I have one other great bit of advice from Stephen Sondheim (composer and lyricist of Sweeney Todd) which helps me a lot: "The worst thing you can do is censor yourself as the pencil hits the paper. You must not edit until you get it all on paper. If you can possibly put everything down, stream-of-consciousness, no matter how clichéd it may seem, you'll do yourself a service." He said that if you find yourself writing lyrics, such as "I love you" and immediately think to yourself "Oh Jesus, I can't, it's just too flat, it's too..." well, if you start thinking that way you won't write anything. That's part of the process of becoming a good writer. You write everything down, than start editing. As you go through that process, you start to train your brain to edit in real time, so to speak. Your writing gets better and better, and you end up editing less as you mature your talent. Have fun & just let it all out![/quote][/quote]
Craig Burdette   solo piano
Posted by Craig Burdette solo piano on May 4 2009 8:36 PM
My problem isn't as much the editing, as it is the not starting. Problem for me is that I write a little, decide it's no good, and stop. The lesson I received from that bit of advice is to just go ahead and let it be crap. You can always take care of that later. Not everything you write is going to be worth much, but if you get three or four pages of just letting yourself run with it, you might actually end up with a couple of phrases that are good.
theraggedfew.bandzoogle.com
Posted by theraggedfew.bandzoogle.com on May 4 2009 8:44 PM
That's the key burdeck. Think of it like writing a book...the first draft isn't the keeper. The more you write the better you'll get. For every good paragraph there are pages of edited rough drafts. Songs are the same way. You have to just write and write and write. I've probably written close to 500 songs...I've only kept 35 of them over the last 15 years. And there solid good songs wich you will see as soon as I get them posted on the site. But I wrote a ton of other crap that helped me carve out the choicest pieces for the songs I have now.
Alberta Records
Posted by Alberta Records on May 4 2009 8:47 PM
Thanks Allison. This is a great post (and I'm just concurring with everyone else here) to say the least. You sum it up in one word: Practice! And I add a synonym, if it's all the same with you: Discipline! Writing everyday is where the magic brews and the song happens! I used to think that songwriting was somehow a different writing skill from, let's say prose, requiring different mental discipline and practice methods, but you have confirmed silent my hunch; it's all the same. What a revelation!...thanks to you, of course. I "write" songs following an honest knee-jerk inspiration, which can occur at any time anywhere, but as I actually press pen to paper I find that the writing fundamentals mean to express their own voice, guide my flow to an honest extent, and complement those inspired notes and indistinct words. This post has made my day and inspired a new song!;)
3rd Nipple Music
Posted by 3rd Nipple Music on May 14 2009 3:39 PM
:D chaka khan ! neal visher
oskar christian
Posted by oskar christian on May 17 2009 11:52 AM
hi,thanx 4 that advice. i actually check all combinations between, composer, author, editor, and how to make them more interesting. well i guess with my music sheets combined to the mp3 tracks. my question is there any form where i can offer songsheets incl. lyrics, from pdf or finale submit in this form and as well mp3 to get the music listen to it. i miss that form. or am i wrong, because i think a real composer should also to write everything, even i have just the timings, harmony, melodie acords and lyrics still the bassline i could add later to it. well at least in mexico and italy they had discussions in the siae and sacm on tv, that to make to play other musicians your music you have to write it down and send it to several orchesters and musician organisations. well i send some of my last compositions to bolognia orchestra italy, zambra, viaggiare a santa manza, i would like your honests meaning about this. it starts to get very confusing. to many infos every country different? ?? i love your advice too.
SilentPanic
Posted by SilentPanic on May 22 2009 9:10 AM
Excellent post, thank you very much
Rachel Panay Today
Posted by Rachel Panay Today on May 30 2009 7:17 AM
Def think reviewing what you've done on any particular day before bed as well as planning the next day AND identifying the top 5 things you would really like to accomplish is a good tip. I have been looking for tips on staying focused and think this one will be very helpful! It should be common sense to do that but for whatever reason I have been forgetting to! ; ) Thanks!
Allison
Posted by Allison on Jun 12 2009 5:15 PM
rachelpanay - Sometimes it tough to remember, because your not in the habit of doing it. Start by setting an alarm each night to remind yourself. Once you get into a routine of doing it, it will become easier.