You MUST find the time…
You don’t get your time back. Ever.
But once you make the time, what then?
In this songwriting cheat sheet, I recommend starting with a title. But what if you’re just not in the mood to write?
How do you overcome procrastination and write more songs?
Here are 3 songwriting productivity tricks you can use today...
1. Warm Up
If you wait for inspiration to write; you’re not a writer, you’re a waiter. -Dan Poynter
You’ve been tricked.
You’ve heard the legends about famous songwriters who find hit songs lying around in their couch cushions.
Not only are the legends probably exaggerated, they describe 1 out of 100 songs, if that.
You’ll usually find your creative peak after you’ve warmed up.
Start simple and easy.
Step 1: Warm up the body.
Increasing your blood flow helps you think.
Research shows that when we exercise, blood pressure and blood flow increase everywhere in the body, including the brain. More blood means more energy and oxygen, which makes our brain perform better.
Why Do I Think Better after I Exercise? - Scientific American
Step 2: Warm up your instrument and voice.
You don’t need get your chops up to top speed.
You just need to remove any cobwebs that could bum out your session.
Here are a few places to start:
- Top 5 Exercises to Warm Up Your Voice Before a Show
- Warm-Up Time: 11 Exercises That Will Help You Play Even Better
- How to Warm Up Your Wrists for Piano Exercises
Step 3: Warm up your writing.
Start with a prompt…
Use all the senses.
Extra Credit: Use the Lyric Triad as a writing prompt.
That’s it. Get your blood and brain moving for a few minutes before you dig in.
Still procrastinating? Here's trick #2...
2. Show Up Like You’re At The Spa
Make an appointment today. A "songwriting spa" appointment.
Put it in your calendar. It will last only one hour.
No big commitment.
Next, follow Terry Crews' advice to a guy struggling to find the motivation to work out...
Any tips for a guy struggling to find the motivation to work out daily, and just practice better fitness on the whole?
(read Terry's entire response...)
TREAT THE GYM LIKE A SPA.
Yes. It has to feel good. I tell people this a lot - go to the gym, and just sit there, and read a magazine, and then go home. And do this every day.
Go to the gym, don't even work out. Just GO. Because the habit of going to the gym is more important than the work out. Because it doesn't matter what you do. You can have fun - but as long as you're having fun, you continue to do it.
But what happens is you get a trainer, your whole body is sore, you can't feel your legs, and you're not coming back the next day - you might not come back for a year!
I worked my way up to 2 hours a day. I ENJOY my workouts. They are my peace, my joy - I get my whole head together! I value that time more than my shower! And it really gets me together. But it's a habit.
There are times when - I'm not even kidding - there are times when I"m in the middle of a work out, and actually woke up because i am so engrained with going to the gym and being there - it's that much of a habit to me. The first thing I do in the morning is work out - I lay out my workout clothes the night before, and just hop in 'em.
So lay out your clothes, and go to the gym, and relax.
But sooner or later, you WILL work out.
Show up and have fun.
The habit is more valuable than the writing.
Sooner or later, you WILL write a song!
3. Measure Your Output
You can't improve what you don't measure.
Measure something, anything.
Doesn’t matter what you start measuring.
Don’t feel like you have to measure everything. Just pick one thing and stick with it for a while.
Think of it as a measuring sprint instead of a marathon, if that helps.
You’ll get a baseline and then you can stop measuring and just check in every once in awhile.
Then, you can measure something new.
Just a few ideas of things to measure:
- Song count
- Time invested
- Word count
For the next 14 days, measure your songwriting output so you know exactly how many songs you're writing and how long it takes.
Once you know, I guarantee you'll want to improve it.
By measuring, you just made it a game!
As you improve your numbers, you gain confidence, motivation, and the momentum it takes to keep going.
That's why I include a songwriting game in the Speed Songwriting System that allows you to...
- Apply game theory to motivate yourself to write (and get a gambler's high with your songwriting wins AND losses)
- Measure your songwriting output so you know exactly how many songs you're writing and how long it takes
- Push the pleasure button in your brain so you're pumped up to write another song
Why is Speed Important?
Because your time is important. Once it's gone, you don't get it back.
You're already writing at a speed.
Small changes can make a big difference.
You're a valuable, limited-edition songwriter.
There are only so many tomorrows.
Whatever you want to do, do it now!