For as long as I’ve been a songwriter, I have often heard the old advice that one way to improve your writing is to always write every day. And though it may now seem almost like a cliché, there’s a reason this advice stuck around for so long: it works.
But here I want to delve a little more deeply into the advice and get to the crux of just why writing every day will improve your songwriting. It is grounded in the fact that, though it may not seem like it, songwriting is work. And just like any job, you will get better at it the more you do it.
One thing that’s important to understand about the advice and makes it feel more managable is it tells you to write every day, not that you have to write a song each day. Sure, some days will result in a song, but most of the time you’ll end up with a couplet, maybe a verse, or even just some seemingly random words. However, it is important to write something, not only because it forces your brain into creativity mode, but also because you can often come back to these pieces and use them as parts of a later song.
So here are three reasons why writing every day will improve your songwriting:
It Forces Discipline
Though I mentioned that songwriting is in fact a job, it is unlike many other professions in that you rarely have any sort of deadlines, which in turn often leads to procrastination. But if you are writing every day, it is much less likely that you will fall into this habit.
I like to set aside a certain amount of time – maybe 30 minutes – each day to focus on writing. The great thing about this is that those 30 minutes often turn into a much longer period of time as I get on a roll and don’t want to stop writing, but I’ll always have at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted writing.
It Will Help Writers Block
As with any art, your creativity will ebb and flow as a songwriter. I’ve had days when I’ve written three songs in a few hours, and I’ve gone a couple months without producing a completed song at all. And its in times when you can’t seem to get the right words together that you start feeling a writer’s greatest fear: writer’s block.
But if you are writing every day, it is much easier to get yourself back on track and not succumb to writer’s block. If you can’t write a song, just make writing exercises for yourself. Write out in detail the scene outside your window, or inside your favorite restaurant. This will get your mind back in a creative mode, and you’ll be back to songwriting in no time.
It Will Force You Into a Routine
I don’t like to write at the same time every day – it feels too much like an office job to me. But I do need consistency when I write, which leads to the aforementioned self-discipline. So what I do is schedule the times I write each day around my other duties at different times on different days. For instance, I like to get up early on Monday and write in the morning, but on weekends I like to push writing back into the afternoon. This not only provides a good routine that will help with self-discipline, it also allows your brain to be in different modes each time that you write, which often helps creativity.