I know the title of this article might sound harsh but if you’re reading this article I’m guessing you want to know why your songs aren’t catching and keeping people’s attention as well as turning them into fans of your music.
Firstly, let me start by saying, not everyone is going to be a fan of your music and that is okay. It’s the same reason we have lots of guitar types in a variety of colours and finishes. Not everyones likes the same thing.
We’re not talking mega stardom, pop icon either, just a “Wow, I really love this track”. Then they go and tell other people and add it to their “favourites playlist” type of response.
Second, you’re probably asking, who are you to decide what makes songs ignorable? You’re right, and I’m not suggesting that if you disregard all of the below that people won’t like your songs.
What I am suggesting is that if you want more people to take notice of your music and not ignore it there are certain aspects of your music you should examine.
This applies even if your music is very niche. Just like the market for vintage synths attracts certain people, that community also has expectations about the instruments it prizes: their collectability, condition and other criteria. They’re probably not going to be interested in a beat up AKAI Rhythm Wolf for instance.
In the end it’s about growing as a songwriter and crafting better music releases. If that sounds like something you’d like to do, then read on.
Songwriting: Craft & Craftmanship
Most of the music that I hear in the course of mixing and mastering is pretty well written. But then there are other tracks where it’s clear that the person writing needs some development.
This is the first fundamental flaw that will set your songs on a path to be ignored. It will also negate almost all of the other steps in the recording and production process that follow.
This needs to be fixed first.
How Do I Write Better Songs? Practice
Practice isn’t a very sexy answer I know, but it’s the truth.
Practice means getting in your songwriting space (physically) habitually. I’m talking at least 5 days a week for at least 30 minutes in a space where you write songs.
This is how professional songwriters work. You’ll need to put aside the romantic notion of “moments of inspiration”. They happen but they are the exception and not the rule.
Step 1: Choose Your Space
If you want to practice your songwriting, choose a space. It could be a spare bedroom, your home studio, a closet (?). Get in that space and write and work on the craft of songwriting every day. Do this for at least 30 days and just watch your songwriting shift. Don’t rely on “feeling like writing” – this just won’t work.
Step 2: The Honeymoon Is Over
What you will probably find is that you start strong and about the 5 – 7 day mark you’ll have lost some of that momentum. Here is where you become a professional and show up even if you don’t feel like it. You might find that the first 5 mins are a little tough but then inspiration starts to flow and bang, you’re off again.
Step 3: Falling In Love With Riding The Waves
At the 20 day mark you’ll have experienced highs and lows of this approach. If you’ve pushed through and you’re a little self-aware you’ll realise this is the songwriter’s journey and it’s actually quite wonderful.
A Better Songwriter By Just Showing Up
Most importantly you should become acutely aware that showing up is the key to moving forward in your songwriting journey. You’ll start to feel a rhythm in the routine that is rewarding, comforting and should inspire you onwards.
Where To From Here?
Hopefully after 30 days you’ve written a song or maybe many. Maybe you’ve got some unfinished ideas too. What you will have most importantly is the transformative experience I’ve described above.
Now it’s time to do the next 30 days. This time you need to do what you did but focus in on some areas to help take you deeper into songsmithing but that’s for next time.
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez