A few tips for Songwriter Discipline.
Steven McClintock of 37 Records. http://www.37records.com/category/news/
Write songs because you LOVE to write…because you enjoy the process. NOT because you think it can make you rich. That’s the wrong reason…though it certainly can.
Writing is a job…a tough job, but with amazing rewards. Everyone ask what inspires you to write. Well I answer, what doesn’t? Sometimes though, you just have to be present to win. Show up, get started, have discipline and before you know it, it becomes second nature.
1. Get a comfortable setting to write
As simple as it sounds, having a place to go where you can focus and be creative can be motivating. Even if it’s just a small desk and chair in a corner of your living room, the fact that you’ve dedicated it to creating can move you to work it! Don’t be afraid to pull out the songwriter’s best friends – rhyming dictionary, Thesaurus, a capo, pen and paper, laptop, etc. – all ready to go. I keep a guitar out all of the time, just in case I want to pick it up and play it. Same with my piano, I have it
2. Get a routine for being creative
Routine can be a good thing even for something as artistic and creative as songwriting. If, for example, you know that every day at 7pm, you’re going to write for half an hour, then you’re more likely to do it. They say it takes a few weeks of consciously making yourself do something before it becomes a habit. A daily time to write will go a long way towards the healthy habit of songwriting.
3. Write something every day…discipline
This can feel overwhelming but really isn’t. Sit down for 3 minutes even, or put a lyric idea down, or hum a melody into the phone. It doesn’t have to be a BIG DEAL to sit and write. No pressure and if you get into the habit to write something every day, you can get rid of the potential road blocks. You will always have somewhere to go.
4. Find projects needing songs
For some of us, sometimes the idea that you can write about anything is just too much freedom.
Create some challenges for yourself. Tell yourself you are going to work on something that has the same chords in the chorus and the verse. That will make you focus on possibly a stronger melody or unique rhythm changes. It also keeps it fun!
5. Find co-writers, more than one
Make an appointment! Stick with it! If someone is counting on you to show up and work, you’re more likely to make that happen. This is a good thing! Every writer can and will bring something new to the table. Look for their strengths, build on it. Having someone whose skills complement yours usually creates a stronger song. Co-writing itself can be scary, but don’t let it be…just be open and honest, say what you need to and never be worried about what the co-writer thinks. No such thing as a bad idea…they will usually lead to good ones.
6. Never throw away ANY idea
Sometimes it is great to start with a fresh idea…just feels good. But hey, don’t forget to check your old ideas or unfinished songs. Make SURE though, that it isn’t with another songwriter! That is a can of worms you do not want to open. One of the hardest things is starting with a blank page or no idea, so keep a list or file of lyrics and melodies. What might not fit your song now can fit another one later.
Few Tips for Songwriter Discipline
(not original ideas, but shared by other songwriters)
Steven McClintock host of THE SONGWRITER, hit songwriter, publisher and all round great guy!
I recently attended a “Showcase” for Independent artists that was scheduled during the CRS radio conference in Nashville. Now, just because a “showcase” takes place the same time as a national event happening in town, does not necessarily make it part of that conference.
There are events that major record labels are presenting to the decision makers in radio. Yes, radio professionals were in town at the same time as the showcase. Many of those professionals in radio were on the General Jackson boat at the time of the other showcase in a local venue. SONY always hosts an event with their artists the Thursday night of CRS and the top program directors and other industry pros are on THAT SONY boat listening to the top SONY artists as they cruise the river.
Also at the convention hotel, there are record labels that are showcasing their artists to radio professionals, providing food and beverages in several rooms of the hotel.
Other events happening as part of the CRS events are the record labels are taking out the radio program directors and decision makers to nice dinners in expensive restaurants, artists homes and other events happening around town for private functions.
ALSO, independent record promoters will ask unknown artists to pay them to do a perhaps :15 to :30 minute set at a local bar or restaurant downtown, promising radio professionals will see them major record labels will see them perform, major decision makers and booking agents will be at the events and the artists should pay $100′s of dollars to perform on the stage OR include it in a promotional package to “work” their songs to radio.
The artists also have to pay their own band members to travel to Nashville if they are from out of town, pay gas, food and lodging as well as to play the up to :30 minute showcase. Add those costs to the bottom line for the “showcase”. The artists family from out of town often accompany the artists, adding costs to the showcase.
Do you really think the radio people with a choice of major artists and upcoming artists that have deals with record companies, seeing major artists perform and network with the big industry professionals will really come to a local venue to see someone they have never heard, although they may have received the song via e-mail or on a CD, will stay out past midnight to watch these artists they have not heard of perform on stage for four hours that night watching all the artists?
The event I attended because a friend was playing included about SIX artist playing :30 minutes each, then time for set changes. The last two artists at the event – one started about 12:15 AM and the last one about 12:50. Needless to say, no radio professionals/decision makers were in the venue and very few people in the venue at the end of the night.
Sometimes, as happened last week, an independent artist promoted an event at a local venue, asked other artists to perform during the night. Sounds like a lot of fun doesn’t it. HOWEVER, that artist that reserved the room for their “showcase” had to guarantee the venue that people attending the event would spend a minimum $4,000.00 in food and beverages.
If the attendees did not spend that much money, the artist must PAY the bar the difference in what was spent on food and beverages and the $4,000. The aspiring artist paid I am sure, do not know the exact total, probably in excess of $1,000+ to the bar for the use of the room that night.
Do YOU think these would events are worthwhile investment for an artists??
Another event that independent companies promote during the big event in Nashville in June, independent promoters will be asking a bunch of artists that very few people have heard of, to pay them to play on their stage at a local bar or restaurant downtown, promising 100′s and 1,000′s of fans will be in the bar during the event!
Actually there are tens of 1,000′s of people downtown at that time – to see the artists on the six stages that the local music industry association will ask to play on all the stages during the day as part of the great and huge festival that brings music fans in from all over the world. These are known artists with fan bases and most have record deals.
At night, most of the fans are across the river, watching the artists they hear on radio play their songs at the football stadium.
Just think before you pay to play on events that are promoted as being tied into a major event! Do your homework, look in that big events guide to see if that showcase is REALLY part of the major event, or just happening at the same time as the major event in Nashville.
Do the research on these companies that ask you to pay them to promote you to radio. What success have they had in the recent past with artists to achieve the goals of the artists?
YOUR thoughts and experiences in the past for these type of events – leave a comment!
I saw this article on The Songwriter’s Connection E-Tip, a great resource from Kim Copeland who is a songwriter/producer You can sign up here for her e-zine. Thanks to Leon Olguin for the article!
NEW - Songwriters on Songwriting - Songwriters Guide with tips from Doak Turner; Rachael Sage; Byron Hill; Kent Blazy; Steve Smith.
Disc Makers present A Panel of five pro songwriters tackles 12 questions about the craft of writing songs. Topics include – How to write through writers block, Co-writing, Knowing when your song is finished and other topics and advice from each of the songwriters.
FREE go to the site and download! Learn from pros in the music business every day. What are YOUR favorite articles and resources to learn the music biz? Leave your comments.
Hello! Do you know anyone that has ever had their home broken into and items stolen? If that happened to you today – what would you do?
Are YOUR GUITARS and other instruments insured, do you have the photo and serial number written down and in a safe place? I recommend doing this TODAY!
Do you have your name and info engraved on your computer, on your studio equipment, on your instruments, on your electronics and other valuables?
If you computer was stolen, do you have it backed up on the cloud or a hidden backup? Is your name engraved on it, do you have the serial number in a safe place?
Do you have a security system on your home or apartment? You may want to invest in a good one that will alert police if someone breaks into your home. It can happen in the middle of the day – while you are working, at a co-write, in a meeting with a publisher, going to a store or anytime of the day!
YOUR DOORS to your home – yea you may have a deadbolt, however the faceplate on the door frame, it probably has a 1/2 inch screw going into a piece of wood, Someone can kick your door in – go to a hardware store today and get a solid faceplate that comes with 3 inch screws and put that type of faceplate to hold your door in place!
Do you have homeowners or renters insurance? What is the deductible – $500 or $1,000? Will that be enough to replace what is stolen in your house – minus the deductible?
Do you have photos of valuables and perhaps with your phones, do a panoramic of every room of your home and your storage areas. Do you have valuable papers in your top drawer of your chests in your bedroom, do you have valuable items on display that can be easily removed, do you have that coin jar full of change and you’ve been thinking about taking it to Kroger’s or the bank – go ahead and do it as that is so easy for the thieves to grab and take with your other valuables!
You think it will never happen in YOUR HOME – then think again! Please take caution and the necessary steps in case it happens you may have a better chance to reclaim your items.
Your comments – ever been robbed, ever have family or friends go through a robbery? What have YOU done for security in your home and for your music items?
What are you thankful for the music in your life??
I am thankful for dreams and people that come into my life on the journey. The co-writers that write with me and we want to have success for the songs and our lives. The publishers that open their doors to hear my songs and relationships built over the years. The mentors that support me with words and stories of encouragement and answer the questions over the years.
The studios that have worked with me over the years to make those guitar/vocals come to life! The artists that have recorded my songs, done videos, put their heart and soul into the song. I sometimes have watched those independent artists with their dreams, take the time to record, do the videos, invest their time and money – on a song I co-wrote. Those events help keep me on the journey.
Thankful for the sponsors and subscribers of the Nashville Muse and my other sites in the business.
Thankful to family and friends that encourage me, listen to demos, help me in many ways with their prayers and kind words. The Music Row Community that encourages songwriters and NSAI that makes a difference in songwriters lives have been a big help over the many years of the songwriting journey.The friends and relationships built in the past years that help keep me motivated and encouraged to keep writing and pitching the songs.
Thankful for The Goals and Dreams I have to finish 2013 strong, to make 2014 the greatest year of the music journey, with goals and dreams coming true for my songs.
I hope you have had a good 2013, will stay positive and keep believing and working on your journey. Research those who have had success and learn from them. How long did they stay on the journey – not giving up? I read recently that one of the hottest songwriters in the past year, has been in Nashville for 15 years and is now seeing the success! Whatever it takes – let’s work together to make 2013 our best – finish strong and positive, and plan our work and work our plans for 2014.
THANKS to YOU for being part of my journey! Love and Blessings to You and Your Dreams and Goals!
NSAI’s Bart Herbison and hit songwriters discuss the “Story Behind the Song” in the Tennessean every week. This is a great opportunity to learn about the songwriters, how they came up with the ideas for the songs, the co-writing session, how the song got cut and the inside story about the songwriter – with their journey to success with their songwriting.
The newest one features Marty Dodson, a Nashville native and how his song went from the idea stage, his data base that he uses to file his ideas, to the co-writing session with Jim Collins, the song recorded by George Strait and George played songs on an upcoming album for Kenny Chesney and making it a hit song.
Go to the site for the interview and other great interviews for the Story Behind the Song! Be inspired watching the interviews! Perhaps tell the songwriters and Bart you enjoyed the interview when you see them in the future!
We look forward to working with you at the 2013 CMA Awards!
We hope this letter answers the majority of your questions, so read it carefully for vital details.
ALL Mosh Fillers will be wristbanded on Friday, Nov 1st, 5:30p, AND Wed, Nov 6th, 9a, at the 6th Ave Entrance of Bridgestone Arena as long as they last- no exceptions. Report to the usual 6th Ave Black Awning Entrance where wristbands are being issued. Be patient- THERE ARE NO BOWL FILLER SEATS AVAILABLE THIS YEAR- ONLY MOSH.
Your trusted guests will be allowed to participate while the wristband supply lasts, but YOU will be responsible for your guest and their actions. Thank you for being FLEXIBLE & PATIENT!!
You will be placed in A STANDING MOSH PIT around a stage as an important mosh filler. From there, you will enjoy an amazing FREE experience as part of the largest, most successful award show on television. It airs live on ABC from 7-10p CST on Wednesday, November 6th.
The activity in the back of the house takes place throughout the show. This is a live TV event so safety, speed, and efficiency are critical. Be attentive to all staff- Things move quickly and we appreciate your adding to the show with your patient and flexible cooperation at all times.
Artists do not want to converse with us, and WILL report a problem or an aggressive fan to CMA, show staff or me. Artists will appear on camera at any time, so it’s important that they are allowed to be attentive to the show and stage managers. Remember, this is fun for us, but they are
working. We expect your utmost professionalism in this area and thank you in advance for your cooperation. Please get my attention if you have any problems with this during the show.
REPORT ANY VIOLATION OF BEHAVIOR THAT YOU SEE IMMEDIATELY TO ME OR OUR STAFF!
Men – Upscale dressy concert attire; no short sleeves, jeans, hats, or t-shirts.
Women – Upscale dressy concert attire; no overly-exposed skin, with makeup and hair ready. For safety and speed, NO heels or platform shoes over 2 1/2 inches high. Ballerina Flats are encouraged- shoes
won’t show and you’ll be comfortable when it’s time to move quickly. No hats, sheer clothing, low necklines or short skirts are allowed. Due to heightened security, a SMALL evening wristlet-sized handbag is the ONLY type of bag of any kind a mosh filler is allowed to bring in.
***No other handbag larger than a small evening purse will be admitted. *** You may be on camera many times during the course of the evening, so NO gum or waving or gesturing to the camera- just ignore it like a professional actor does.
Wednesday, Nov 6th, 2013, by 5:30pm.
Please arrive at the usual Bridgestone Arena entrance at 6th & Broadway, dressed for the show. Allow extra time due for rush hour traffic, parking, walking, and security check-ins around the Bridgestone Arena. No food or beverages will be served, so plan accordingly.
PARKING and ENTRANCE:
Self-park where possible. Report to 6th Ave, across from the First Baptist Church parking lot, where you will join the “Bag” or “No Bag” line. Doors close at 7pm.
The “Bag” line requires a Security Bag Check before entering. Those without a mini-purse will enter through the “No Bag” line, which enters the building BEFORE the “Bag” line enters.
If you bring a handbag larger than a small evening purse or fail to meet the above wardrobe requirements, you will NOT be admitted. Security will check all audience that enters.
There is NO secure place to leave coats or umbrellas, and we ask that you try not to bring them. If the weather is inclimate, we will move you inside the stairwell as quickly as possible. Should you choose to bring an umbrella, you have to leave it in the 6th Ave stairwell, and can be reclaimed after the show if it’s still there. Do NOT bring cameras, camera bags, large purses or binoculars.
OTHER IMPORTANT REMINDERS:
NO professional long-lens cameras, video cameras, or any type of professional recording devices are allowed. Cell phones must be placed on silent and are STRICTLY prohibited while in the Bridgestone We Are Nashvillena and strictly enforced. Emergency calls should be taken in the concourses only.
NO cell phone use whatsoever on the arena floor, except during commercial breaks- this will be strictly enforced.
Absolutely no requests for autographs or photos from Talent or the submission of business cards or promotional materials of any type to the artists is allowed at ANY time, even when the show is over.
Thanks again for your participation!! – Enjoy the show!
Suzzane Skinner, Audience Producer
“Unwritten Rules to Successful Networking In The Music Business”
By Doak Turner
Unwritten Rules to Successful Networking In The Music Business – you get invited to a party in the music business, or a conference/workshop, a #1 party or other music industry function. You want to do the right things at these events, but what are they?
- Research the people that will be at the event in advance – if it is a #1 party, find out who are the writers and research the writers and publishers to learn a little about them in advance.
- Arrive on time for the event – to make the most of the networking
- BE POSITIVE – before going into the event – whatever happened earlier in the day – let It Go as you want to be positive and smiling at the event. We have all had our songs rejected, had a tough day for one reason or another, however this is the time to be a positive energy person at the event.
- They usually serve beverages at the events – TIP – always get a napkin and wrap it around the beverages as the cups and glasses sweat. When you are shaking hands – you do not want the wet hands from the beverage to shake with do you? (smile).
- When meeting someone – always ask about THEM. The Who What Where When questions to get them talking. Where are you from, How long have you been in town, What do you do in the business, etc.
- If you are Shy – find someone that looks shy – go talk with them as they are probably like you, looking for someone to talk with, but perhaps do not know many people at the event and will be glad you reached out to them.
- BUSINESS CARDS – now that you have met someone, decide to exchange business cards – be prepared! I have MY business cards in my left pocket and everyone else’s cards go in my right pocket. That prevents the mix up, pulling out someone else’s card to give away. YOUR CARD should have – your name, phone number, e-mail. Website. Make sure –print is big enough to be easy to read! Have you business cards with you at all times!!
- Creative places to Network – in Nashville, I recommend you have your mail delivered to the Acklen Avenue Post Office – over in Hillsboro Village, at the end of Music Row. 98% of the music business get their mail at that post office! You will meet people from all areas of the music business at the post office. Perhaps strike up conversations, sometimes go around the corner to a restaurant or coffee shop to the start of a business relationship and friendship from meeting them at the Acklen Avenue Post Office.
- Banks – best to network – Regions Bank at the Roundabout Circle – Lisa Harless and her crew are great to work with and you run into music business professionals at the banks. If you bank at SunTrust Bank, they have a branch on 17th Avenue – use that one as you run into professionals in the music business at that branch. Avenue Bank has 4 locations in town, one is in the Cummins Station building and you can run into music business people at that location and the others. Meet with your banker in the music business and develop a relationship with them – they know everyone and can help you tremendously in Nashville!
- Get invovled in the community – find something you like to do outside of the music business and get invovled – volunteer or find events in the music business such as benefits, visit writer rounds and meet other songwriters and like minded people to network and build relationships.
- Create Events – invite songwriters and music people to your home for cookouts and play songs. If you live in an apartment or house is too small – perhaps find a community center or other location and host writer rounds at the locations. Hosting the events gets your name out in the community, you make new friends and providing a service to people in the music industry.
- WHAT NOT TO DO at Networking Events! Do not start a conversation telling that person everything about you! We have two ears and one mouth for a reason! Do not walk up to a hit songwriter, give them your CD and tell them you should co-write a song together!
- DO NOT ask for Photos with the pros or autographs. – This makes you look like a fan instead of someone in the music business. Be a songwriter or whatever you do, not a fan!
- When meeting hit songwriters – perhaps tell them you enjoyed their songs, if a couple were inspiring to you, mention that fact, thank them for writing the song, and that you will see them again around town. If they ask about you, tell them in about 12 seconds – you are a writer, perhaps new to town or visiting and love the music business and Nashville. Again, do not tie them up in conversation at an event or at a songwriters round.
- Your Peers – build friendships and business relationships over time in the music business with your peers – those on your level and work with each other to improve your craft.
- Have FUN on your journey! Learn every day!
For more information on this and other topics for your songwriting and artist journey, contact Doak at email@example.com