How To Become a Songwriter

Related Post: HOME RECORDING FOR MUSICIANS FOR DUMMIES – Digital Home Recording Tips

There is only one way to become a songwriter and it is a lot simpler than you might think.

You just write songs.

A song is music and often (but not always) lyrics.

At first, your songs may suck.

Unless you were born with innate talent, they most definitely will suck at first.

Especially if you don’t know how to sing or play an instrument.

But these are just tools, and for most people, 90% of talent is PRACTICE.

If your passion is to write songs, you will be compelled to do it. That is the true sign of a songwriter – DOING.

Songwriting is about systematic DOING. That is, getting up in the morning and being driven to go write songs.

A book like Jason Blume’s “6 Steps to Songwriting Success” is also a great tool for getting the job done.

Don’t get discouraged. Sucking is part of not sucking. 99% of the songs you write might suck. But that one out of 100 will be a gem, and that is what songwriters live for. The other 99 songs are just “practice” for that one awesome song.

Consider this guy Andrew Huang of songstowearpantsto.com

He writes prolific amounts of short, catchy, funny songs that people request.

There’s a market for his songs and he is self employed writing them. No day job, yea!

He became a songwriter by writing songs. Real simple basic catchy songs.

That’s it. Simple.

You don’t need a fancy studio.

You just need to DO IT.

You can write down music and lyrics on paper if you have to.

I do it all the time. It’s easier than setting up microphones and running computer programs. Old school pencil and paper.

Sure, it’s nice to have some kind of recording capabilities to document your songs when they are finished, especially if you don’t know anything about writing down music.

But even the most basic computers nowadays have built in basic multitrack recording programs.

Your song demos don’t have to sound awesome. They only have to be good enough so that someone who has good production capabilities (like me!) can take them and make them sound awesome.

If you feel you have a passion for songwriting, you will be compelled to do it.

But if you don’t have that passion, don’t do it. There are much better trades than songwriting if your goal is just to make some money.

Do songwriting because you like it. Songwriting requires soul fire and a drive to pursue your craft and PRACTICE it. How are you going to be motivated to write songs every day unless you are passionate about it?

Become an accountant if you like money.

RESOURCES

Check out February Album Writing Month (fawm.org). It happens every year, and it’s coming up soon. Thousands of songwriters, amateur to expert, do it every year.

FAWM is a personal challenge to write 14 songs in 28 days. And it’s FREE.

Not 14 GOOD songs. Just 14 songs. And it is very doable.

If even one of those songs is decent, that is one more song than you would have if you sat on your arse and did nothing, am I right?

And FAWM is totally EASY and FREE to do online. Their web site is so user friendly.

Plus, all the other “fawmers” on the site will hear your songs and critique them, which helps you become a better songwriter. Don’t take anything personally. You need to be brutally honest with yourself and have a thick skin to be a songwriter.

When I do FAWM, I typically end up with 3 or 4 songs I think are pretty good (and generally my fawmer friends concur). Here are some examples of some of my past FAWM successes.

(NOTE: Mind you, many of these demos are crude – writing songs is not about production, only writing the song – music and words. That’s all. If you have a killer song, you can always hire people for production, but a crappy song will always be a crappy song.)

1. Dust in My Eye (FAWM 2009) – I recorded this in Garage Band on a Mac and all the effects you hear are computer generated. Real simple, nothing fancy.

2. Thrice Heart (FAWM 2009) – Another crude recording, but a truly inspired (by a girl, of course) song. Note the catchy guitar melody behind the vocals. Pure gravy there.

3. Road Hog (FAWM 2010) – A year of songwriting (and a full band) later, my demo production quality had remarkably improved, as you can hear in this AC/DC-esque song about “firing” your boss and becoming a free agent, which is exactly what I did for a year, just to see if I could.

And I did. And I loved it. And you can too.

Here are three more songs I just wrote at random:

BEATNIK FASHION STATEMENT

REBOUND ROMANCE

TORNADIC ACTIVITY

See also HOME RECORDING FOR MUSICIANS FOR DUMMIES – Digital Home Recording Tips.

About these ads

About Cactus Joe

Cactus Joe is a mild-mannered technical writer by day and a rock-n-roll super hero by night. He is a songwriter and a performing musician in Madison, WI. http://www.cactusjoeonline.com

Posted on January 19, 2011, in Do It Yourself, Essentials, Home Recording, Home Recording for Musicians for Dummies, How to Become a Songwriter, Production, Song Writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. hi, i always had this passion for music and song writing… but i dont know where to began and who to show my songs to when i do write them. do i need to go to college to be a song writer ? or can i just be a songwriter and sell my lyrics? but to who? and how? and how much does a song cost if you sell it? im so new at this. and i have tons of qeustions….. would really be helpful for some feedback ….thanks.

  2. i have what youd regard as a killer song or two, however, i cant sing, to save my life,so up to now, i have no demos, i write easily listening rock ballads, and as most publishers are looking for cheesy pop songs now a days, its tough trying to find one who isnt, im pretty sure fifteen years ago my songs would be enourmous, and i am a very good critic of myself, ive searched high and low for a genuine publisher, in my genre, when i say genuine, i mean we all know theres people like paramount song wholl tell you anythings great to get your cash, anyway if you know a good publisher, please get back to me, thanks

  3. Hi, I have just recently discovered that I have a tallent in song writing… it started when i got my kids a piano for Christmas… i had not played since I had lessons as a child but my 3 kids are all showing signs of being musically tallented so I decided that we needed a piano… I was not expecting to remember so quickly, how to play… I started to make up simple tunes and it was only a few weeks before I was writing lyrics too… a few months in and im finding songs falling outa me… i have been ringing hip hop beats on YouTube and and writing songs, some love songs and some r personal experiences with deeper lyrics, I wrote a song a few weeks ago called jaguar waste and all my friend love it… some are rappers and singera already. Anyway I would love to find a way to get my music heard and maybe even make some $ cause music has always been my passion, ust didnt reqlise i could write… i just googles a relavent question and ended up hear… so this i suppose is where my journey begins… bless… eri

  4. Tina Majsztrik

    I have been writing songs(lyrics) down for years with the music in my head. I don’t know how to play an instrument so I usually try to record what is I can in melody, on a cassette tape recorder. I would love to get some of my music out and sung to music. I think I will try this challenge of writing 14 songs, in a month. How do you make sure no one steels your songs, and how do you get them to a producer? I guess I should get one of those books.

    • Hi Tina. For your copyright and production questions, you will want this excellent book, The Business of Songwriting by Jason Blume – http://amzn.to/N4kcv8.

      Your song is automatically copyrighted as soon as you publish it in any tangible form, even if it is just handwritten lyrics and chords. This includes tape recordings. However, proving your copyright is a different matter. Most songwriters don’t worry about copyrighting until they start to get a bit of success. The logic is, no one is going to steal an amateur song, even if it is good.

      On the other hand, a great song is a great song and if someone with a lack of ethics and the ability to steal it (record and produce it) thinks so, then you may want to protect it with a formal copyright with the government. The book above explains it all really well. Keep in mind that you have to pay the copyright fee per each work submitted, so some people will combine several songs together into a collected work and copyright that. Saves money.

      Thanks for your interest. Are you doing February Album Writing Month, 14 songs in 28 days? It is very fun. If you do, add me to your list: http://fawm.org/fawmers/cactusjoe.

      Thanks, Joe.

  5. I love writin songs just plain words i cant read notes worth a crap so if you can email me i would love to email and sel

  6. I love writin songs just plain words i cant read notes worth a crap so if you can email me i would love to sell my songs

    • Cool. Check out Broadjam.com. Great place to license songs for film and TV. Try Taxi.com if you are looking to write for pop stars, but the latter is really hard to do. Licensing is a better way.

  7. This is really attention-grabbing, You’re a very professional blogger. I’ve joined your feed and look ahead to searching for more of your magnificent post. Also, I have shared your website in my social networks

  1. Pingback: New Songs – I Would Love Your Feedback « Cactus Joe

  2. Pingback: Home Recording for Musicians for Dummies – Digital Home Recording Tips « Cactus Joe Productions LLC

  3. Pingback: Dark Complexioned Woman « Cactus Joe

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,095 other followers

%d bloggers like this: