By: Barry DeVorzon

1 – Schedule time – Whether you are a full-time or part-time songwriter it is important to create a schedule where you set aside time each week to write. It has to be a place that allows you to focus on your songwriting with no distractions. Distraction is the enemy of creativity. During these sessions, if you come up with nothing don’t worry about it, we are all at the mercy of our Muse and all you can do is try again.

2 – Pay attention to current trends in music, it’s okay to be influenced by what is current, just don’t try to copy or chase it. Do your own thing but try to be as unique as possible in how you present what you are trying to communicate. Be willing to do the work and don’t settle for anything less than exceptional.

3 – A great melody is essential but what you say and how you say it can be the difference between a good song and a great song. Be willing to wait for that exceptional melody and don’t write lyrics that are obvious, take a different slant or use imagery that relates to what you are trying to get across.

4 – Have the professional objectivity to know the difference between good and great. Good is everywhere, great is the exception. The world with very few exceptions only rewards that which is great.

5 – If the song you’re writing doesn’t hit you hard and touch you emotionally, it probably won’t touch others. Consider it an exercise in songwriting, which is a good thing, because that’s how you learn to write better songs. On the other hand, If you write a song that greatly affects you emotionally, you have a shot but don’t let that rush of emotion hide the fact that if you want to create something great, your job has just begun. You have to be willing to spend whatever time it takes to make every part of that song exceptional and don’t settle or give up until you honestly feel you have done that.

6 – It helps to get away from the song periodically for a day or even a week, so that you don’t lose your objectivity and enthusiasm. If you don’t do this, you can OD on a song and lose your way.

7 – When it’s time to demo the song, spend time on a good track but try and keep it simple, don’t over produce, it’s a demo whose only purpose is to sell the song. If you are not the singer on the demo make sure you find a singer who gets the song and can interpret and convey the emotional content that touched you when you first wrote it.

8 – Even when you follow this work ethic and accept nothing less than great there are no guarantees, but at least you’re up at bat. When you settle for less, you’re not even in the game.