Encouragement for songwriters is very important, in my opinion, especially when they are starting out. Too many beginning songwriters are afraid to proceed out of fear that their first songs will not turn out great. Maybe that’s your attitude. “What if nobody likes it”, you say to yourself. “Songwriting is a difficult endeavor”, you lament.
If you have this mindset I have a message for you. You are absolutely correct. And you know what? I’m telling you to give yourself permission to fail. It is going to happen anyway. There is no way to bypass this pathway to songwriting success. It’s a cliche, but it’s called, “Baby Steps”.
Songwriting is Like Learning to Walk
I’m sure at some point in your life you’ve been around a toddler who is learning to walk. Maybe they stood up on their own, legs shaking, then lifted one foot to take that first monumental step. And, as naturally happens, they lose their balance and fall down.
You then immediately start yelling at the kid. “Why are you even trying to walk, you’ll never succeed, you say to him. “Give it up, you’re no good at walking..there are a lot of kids way better at walking than you are”. You’re probably reading this, saying to yourself, “I’d never say something like that”!! Of course, you wouldn’t.
What is our normal reaction? When that toddler falls down for the first, second, third, or 30th time, we applaud and encourage that child to continue trying. And when they finally get to the point of putting several steps together without falling we praise them even more.
Now think of it from the child’s point of view. When they fall down they don’t give up. Sure, they may cry or pout out of frustration, but eventually, they get back up and try again. They stay at it until they achieve the goal… walking. Then, later on, they work their way up to running. The child is doing what is a natural progression of growth, walking to running.
Never Give up on Your Songwriting
You must take on a childlike mindset when it comes to your songwriting. Don’t ever give up! When your song falls to the floor, pick it up, dust it off, and put it in your song journal, bruises and all. Just like the child’s legs and sense of balance get stronger with each attempt, so too are your songwriting skills improving with each song you write.
You must understand that one song is followed by a little stronger one. Just like you wouldn’t yell at the child for failing multiple times, don’t criticize yourself for your first songs. Celebrate it! I consider the early songs just as valuable as the later ones that are beautifully crafted. Without the early ones, you would never write one that can run a marathon.
Ignore the Haters
Unlike the fact that we all cheer on the child who’s learning to walk, most people will not care about your “failures”. Many will openly denigrate your effort and try to bring you down. Especially if you are brave enough to show your songs to the world. Don’t let it get you down. Don’t let those losers shatter your dream of becoming a songwriter.
They are just a vocal minority. Most of the people will remain silent but will respect the fact that you are bold enough to set your fear aside and share your songs. Do this multiple times and you’ll get that “thick skin” you may have heard that is beneficial in handling criticism.
You Can do it!
I hope I’ve encouraged you to stay the course on your songwriting journey. I know how difficult it is to get started. Learning how to write a song is a process and should be viewed that way. Keep your eye on the goal and don’t let anything steer you off track. It happens one step at a time. Write on!!