Why is songwriting so hard? Songwriting is a creative process by nature. As such, there isn’t a specific formula to come up with the answer like there is in algebra, for example. Songwriter’s imaginations can get derailed by outside distractions making it difficult to create song ideas.
If you haven’t discovered that songwriting can be difficult at times you obviously haven’t been writing songs for very long. Trust me, the day will arrive when you will ask yourself, “why is songwriting so hard?”. That is just the normal course of the songwriting journey.
Identifying and preparing ahead of time for some of the reasons that make songwriting hard will help you persevere when they arise.
Below is a list of 7 things that can make songwriting hard at times. Learn how to conquer these and you’ll be that much more proficient with your songwriting.
1 Not Knowing the Basics of Songwriting
This is an obvious point that many miss. Look at it like this… let’s say someone wants to speak a new language. They have memorized a few words and then try to have a conversation with a native speaker. That conversation is not going to last very long before both parties get frustrated.
First, the person needs to learn the basics, like the alphabet of the new language, how to pronounce the different vowel and consonant combinations, how to conjugate verbs, etc. Songwriting requires the same approach.
The new songwriter should learn what makes up a song like the verse, chorus, bridge, hook, etc. (the links are to articles I’ve written on each item). Knowing the basics will help you get through those hard times. They are like a road map to where you want to go with your song.
2 Songwriter’s Block
What normally brings on the question of “why is songwriting so hard”? Usually, it’s what is known as songwriter’s block. It goes back to our imaginations getting sidetracked by outside distractions.
If we lose our focus in the middle of our song, or even before we start it, that can be a very frustrating experience. Fortunately, there are ways to break through and get re-focused. I wrote an article on dealing entirely with songwriter’s block. Check it out, here.
3 Unable to Start a Song
Maybe you have an idea you want to write about but are not sure exactly how or where to start the song. You sit there with a pen in hand and nothing comes to mind. It’s very frustrating.
There are ways to spur the imagination into action. Read my article on “How to Start a Song“. I discuss themes, melodies, starting with a chorus, and other ideas. These will give you ways to make songwriting a little easier.
4 Unable to Come Up With Song Ideas
It seems like every subject has already been written by songwriters. But not every subject has been written from your point of view. Check out my article on how to get Song Ideas.
This article focuses on tuning in to your environment. Whether it’s listening to the radio, conversations going on around you, or your personal past. This article will give you ideas to conquer those times when songwriting gets hard.
5 Not Knowing Music Theory
You don’t have to know music theory to be able to write songs but it makes it easier if you know some theory. Understanding what chords work together in a particular key gives you an advantage while searching for interesting chord combinations for your songs.
Having the knowledge of which notes make up a chord is very beneficial when it comes time to write a melody for your song. Learn basic music theory. It will help.
6 Not Knowing How to Find a Co-Writer
Finding a co-writer that compliments your writing skills can seem like a difficult task. You may not know where or how to look for one. Assess what your strengths are when it comes to songwriting, as well as the areas where you may need improvement.
Once you’ve identified those, consider taking on a co-writer who is strong in those areas where you are lacking. My article on, How to find a Songwriting Collaborator will give you some ideas on where to start looking. It’s rewarding finding a compatible person to work with and you will come up with some great songs.
7 Self Doubt
This is one of the biggest motivation squashers there is. When it’s tough to come up with that great song idea, or you’re stuck on a line, or you just aren’t happy with what you’ve come up with, that’s when doubt will start to creep in. You wonder if chasing this writing thing is even worth your time.
Maybe you think that people won’t like your songs anyway. There are a million thoughts that open the door for doubt to enter. Don’t let doubt destroy your joy of writing. Just write because you have that inner need to.
If circumstances arise, as they will do from time to time, where you need to take some time off, that’s alright. Don’t ever give up completely. The world needs great songwriters.
These are my 7 items that address the question of why is songwriting so hard. Remember this, if songwriting was easy, there would be a lot more writers out there. Those who don’t give up when the hard times come are the ones who become great songwriters. I encourage you to be one of those writers. Keep your pen up. Write on!