Daily routines are a major help in developing songwriting consistency. Music producer Cliff Goldmacher recommends several in this songwriting tutorial. Making sure you read every day as well as writing in a journal are effective tools. Also, Cliff recommends a couple of his favorite books on songwriting.
- So I have a tendency to think of songwriting as a muscle. And with any muscle it takes a routine and a workout regimen to build it. So here are a few daily routines to help build those songwriting muscles, so that you can be more consistently creative and focused. One of the very first things that I was told when I was coming up as a songwriter, and a hit songwriter told this to me, was "if you want to write good lyrics, read." Read a lot, read quality, and it really makes a difference.
It is a great subtle way of refilling the well. In other words: good stuff in, good stuff out. Another thing that I do on a regular basis that I highly recommend is to write in a journal. It's a simple thing but the act of writing a little bit every day, wakes up the songwriter in you. You don't have to write a masterwork. I am literally talking about putting pen to paper for ten minutes every morning or every night.
Just the act of writing in a journal is one of those daily routines that can make a big difference. Another thing that I would highly recommend especially to songwriters who are new to the game, or experienced songwriters who are looking to be reinspired, are some songwriting books. And I got a couple of them that I really feel strongly about. A game-changer for me was The Artist's Way, written by Julia Cameron. Specifically, the morning pages that she recommends, and morning pages are like essentially writing in a journal.
I read this book in 1997 and I have been writing morning pages every morning since. Another book that was an absolute watershed moment for me was Writing Better Lyrics by Pat Pattison. If you want to improve your lyric writing, if you wanna understand more about the game of writing lyrics, that is an absolute A plus book for doing that. These next couple books, are books that I think speak to just the overall aesthetic of songwriting.
One of those is Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. Another one is Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. And Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke. These are all books that just investigate the writing and creative process. And if for whatever reason, even as I said, if you've been writing for years and years, if you're struggling with motivation or focus these books are wonderful. And for you new songwriters, I would venture to say they're practically indispensable.
- Writing the lyrics
- Writing the melody
- Writing chord progressions
- Creating a rough demo recording
- Motivational techniques and daily practice routines
- Moving your songwriting career forward