Who Has Time To Write Songs These Days?

2014 Jan 10, 2014

Anytime I get on a motivational crusade encouraging people to commit to writing new songs and completing an album, there are inevitably a few naysayers. Now some people genuinely loathe happiness and prefer to be critical instead of productive in their studios, but I believe that’s a small minority.


Via R/DV/RS Flickr

Time Isn’t Something You Find

Most of the pushback comes from those of you are are simply so busy with day to day life that you don’t know where to find the time needed to write, record, or mix an album. And let me be the first to say that I can identify with you. I have a wife, two kids, clients with music of their own, church involvement, etc. You throw in the NFL playoffs this month and my time is dwindling fast!

But the truth about anything worth doing is that you don’t really “find’ the time to do it, you make the time. And that is most certainly true with the art of songwriting. We all are busy, you’re no exception. So let’s talk about how to make the time and best use the time needed to write a killer album.

Searching For Pockets

Unless you have a solid day or two off each week with no other commitments or responsibilities, most of us don’t have massive chunks of time that could be allocated to songwriting. What we do have however, are many small pockets.

What I would encourage you to do is look at a given week in your life and locate the small pockets of time that are “free.” Do you have an hour in the morning before work or school? What about a lunch break? How about the evenings after dinner and when you’ve put the kids to bed?

Little Pockets Add Up Big Time

Your goal should be to find enough pockets of time that add up to about 5 hours per week. That could be 5 one hour blocks, or 10 thirty minute blocks, etc. The point is if you can locate and block out a handful of time pockets amidst your crazy schedule you can in effect open up 20+ hours a month for songwriting; or the equivalent of blocking three full work days in the studio purely for songwriting.

The trick is to actually put your songwriting pockets in the calendar. Treat yourself like a professional, and your studio like a pro studio. Have a calendar and commit to when you will “be at work” on your new album or EP.

Keep Your Self Honest With A Timer

Then once you’re sitting down to write, pull out your phone or a stopwatch and set a timer for 60 minutes, or whatever the allotted time is. That’s right, I want you to literally time yourself. This does two things: it keeps you on track so you won’t be late for your next duty or responsibility for the day, but it also puts some pressure on you to help you get focused, which will result in more music being made.

Remember, time is limited and valuable. You can’t magically find more if it somewhere. So make the time you do have count (your little pockets) and keep yourself honest and focused. Songwriting is work, but that’s OK. When you actually release your next project in a few months you’ll look back on your methods and be glad you had so much intentionality along the way.

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