Being a Songwriter – 10 things to know

November 29, 2010

10 good things to keep in mind if you are a songwriter and want to be the best you can be.


  1. Find a co-writer. Songs can evolve differently with another person’s perspective so co-writing can be an excellent learning experience, especially if you write with somebody that is a little bit better than you. Also, two connections are more effective than one when finding ways to get your song heard and/or placed.
  2. Write regularly. The more you write, the better you will become. Always finish a song, even if you think a song isn’t worth finishing. You never know what could happen with it.
  3. Rewrite then rewrite again. Don’t be afraid to rewrite your songs; editing is your friend. You may end up having several versions of the song and that is perfectly fine. To quote pro songwriter RC Bannon, “Great songs aren’t written, they’re rewritten!”
  4. Get social (media that is). Create a presence on the internet with MySpaceFacebook,Twitter and YouTube.  These marketing tools for your music are key to connecting to your audience. You can also create your own website or blog.
  5. Play out. Get your music heard and gain exposure at writers’ nights, open mics and connect with your local radio stations (many have unsigned writers programs).
  6. Get friendly (but not too friendly) with your fans. Stick around after the show and talk to fans.  Get feedback and hear what other people think of your music. What do they like it about it?  What do they dislike? What else would they like to see you do?
  7. Hi my name is… The music world is all about building and establishing relationships. Get connected by networking! Here are a few places to find the perfect new pals.
  8. Listen and learn. Utilize the one-on-one mentoring that is offered with an NSAI membership. Soak up the knowledge and start applying it to your musical goals. Mentors can point you in positive directions and provide very valuable advice.
  9. Get paid. Check out the Performing Rights Organizations, ASCAP, BMI or SESAC and see which one best fits your needs as a writer.
  10. Go to an event. Attend NSAI workshops, Song Camps and Songposium to gain further knowledge of the music industry and the craft of songwriting itself.


Via: Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI): NSAI is the world’s largest not-for-profit songwriters’ trade organization. Established in 1967, the membership of more than 5,000 spans the United States and seven international countries. For more than 40 years, NSAI has been dedicated to serving and protecting the rights of aspiring and professional songwriters in all genres of music.

2 Responses to “Being a Songwriter – 10 things to know”

  1. Robby Merkin Says:

    Super advice – except for it being Nashville-centric. These ‘tips’ hold regardless of one’s location. There are songwriter’s workshops and organizations everywhere. National organizations often have on-line seminars and workshops. Even if your local group is small and sans big shots, any and all feedback is useful, including that which you may ultimately reject. Listen to the work of others; listen to what they say about you. Sometimes it’s useful to do a rewrite based on a suggestion you don’t agree with at all, first to stretch yourself creatively, and second to challenge your technique. You’ll be asked to do that in the professional world; may as well start practicing.

  2. Joan Spear Says:

    Thanks, Robbie- Yes, I might have qualified that this was a Nashville-centric post. But there are, as you say, many groups and easily found. Thanks also for your comment about feedback from others and the stretching. Love to link to some of your songs- post your site!

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