Songwriter Theory Podcast
Episode 34

The Most Essential Tool To Become Better At Songwriting

Joseph Vadala published on

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If you want more visits from the muse or to increase your productivity, you need to find the places that are conducive to writing productivity

 

The most essential tool to become better at songwriting. What is it?

Habits.

Habits are the foundation of greatness. And you formulate habits with discipline. 

You don’t get to be a prolific songwriter without having a habit of writing.

You don’t get to be a great lead guitarist without having a habit of practicing every day.

Motivation comes and goes, but habits stick with you.

Whatever it is you want to become greater at, habits are where it should start. Songwriting is no different.

Habits protect you from forgetting to do something for a couple days that then turns into a couple months.

Because, if you have the habit of writing every day and then you don’t write for a day, you’ll notice. Something will seem off. All day you’ll be itching to get your daily writing in. If this happens, you’ll be sure to make time to get back to writing the next day.

If you don’t have the habit to write every day, Netflix and Hulu can slowly keep cutting into your writing time until you’ve somehow gone over a month without a single writing session.

The Office and Stranger Things can wait. 

Recently, I decided I was sick of just being a rhythm guitarist. I want to become a true lead guitarist. I don’t want to need a really good guitarist for my band, because he’ll have to carry the lead guitar load.

I want to be able to do it myself. So, over the past month or so, I’ve gotten in the habit of being intentional about practicing every day. I’m practicing my scales over and over and over.

I’m practicing some lead guitar over some jam tracks available on youtube. I’m playing with songs I know and love. I do scales and melodies with the scales while watching a judgeworthy amount of Denver Broncos training camp videos and press conferences.

Anytime I’m not quite sure what to do next, I pick up the guitar. Anytime I find myself watching Seinfeld or something else on Hulu, I’ll pick up the guitar and get in some scale time while I watch.

And, guess what? There’s already been a certifiable ton of improvement. I want to at least be a low-end lead by the end of the year, and I think I’ll get there.

Without the habit, I wouldn’t even have a chance. But this habit has made my new default be about 1 hour of guitar practice every day. Specifically working on scales, and soloing over different songs.

You don’t become great at something from not doing it.

Sound obvious? It is, and yet so many people just wait around, play more video games and just sort of expect to get better over time- practice or not. 

Nothing is handed to us. We have to work for it. 

So write every day. At least 15 minutes. If you really don’t have time to do more than 15 minutes that day, that’s fine. 

But maybe the next day your 15 minutes turns into an hour. 

Either way, be sure to form the habit. 

Do you have the habit of writing every day? If not, what is getting in your way? Let me know @ joseph@songwritertheory.com

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