Brent is a hit songwriter with cuts by Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, Lady Antebellum, Joe Nichols, Gord Bamford, Ray Stevens, and more. He’s written a top 5 hit in the US and a #1 in Canada… so far.
It’s hard to quit. Society says, “never quit.” Maybe you’ve invested so much in whatever it is that you feel it’s too late to quit. Pride doesn’t want you to move on. But sometimes, the only way to win is to quit. Here are 5 things songwriters should quit doing.
1. Toxic relationships.
If you have “friends” or cowriters who habitually belittle your dreams or always point out why something won’t work, it might be time to find new friends and cowriters. Yes, we need people that love us enough to be honest with us even when it’s unpleasant. But some people are energy vampires who will only drag you down. Figure out who’s who, and act accordingly.
Don’t be somebody else’s toxic relationship. A negative attitude not only drives away positive people, it blinds you to opportunity. If you always focus on the closed door, you might miss the open window.
3. Misaligned cowrites.
You want to write hit country songs, but she wants to write niche novelty songs. Or you both want to write hits, but his songs sound like 1952 and he refuses to update his sound, meet with publishers, rewrite, or pitch his songs. Those might be fine “hobby writes,” but you should quit thinking they’re “hit writes.”
4. Lazy artists.
An aspiring artist may have a great voice and be a good writer, but if they don’t want it badly enough, it doesn’t matter. If they don’t take their career seriously, you can’t take their career seriously, either.
5. Demoing & pitching mediocre songs.
Mediocre songs will not change your life. But they can take your time and money if you demo them. Then, if you make a habit of pitching them, you’ll be known as a mediocre writer. (You don’t always know before writing your song if it’ll be mediocre. That’s fine. But you should know it’s mediocre before you demo it.)
Part of the advantage of quitting is that it makes room in your life for better things. Negative relationships can be replaced with inspiring relationships. Misaligned cowrites can be replaced with properly-aligned cowrites. Lazy artists can be replaced with serious artists. The time and money you spend on mediocre songs can be spent finding, writing, and demoing better songs.
Win by quitting.
I wouldn’t pretend that this list is exhaustive. What would you add to the “quit list?”
INTERESTED IN A LIVE “MAN vs ROW” WORKSHOP?
A couple of my buddies and I are considering putting together a live 3-or-4-hour Man vs. Row Songwriting Workshop in Alabama on a Saturday in April and August/September in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Would you be interested in attending? What about watching live over the internet? We’re just trying to gauge interest. Thanks!
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Brent’s Twitter: @Razorbaxter
Brent Baxter Music: http://www.brentbaxtermusic.com