Sunday, July 28, 2013

Write, Show, Repeat

"You cannot set art off in a corner and hope for it to have vitality, reality, and substance." - Charles Ives

So what's the magic formula for success as a songwriter? It's actually pretty easy.

Ever read the back of a shampoo bottle? The instructions aren't difficult.

"Lather, Rinse, Repeat."

Three things to do so anyone can get it done. Put the shampoo in your hair, rinse it out, repeat again or the next time.

The only worse instructions on something is a wet nap, which I always found hilarious that we had to be told to "Tear open packet, and use." Use? Really? We have to be told to use it?

But in many ways that's the purpose of this blog. I am going to give you three simple instructions to get your songs out there, and it's up to you to follow the very simple directions. (So scroll, read, and use ;)

1. Write.

Just write something. 

Oh yeah, that part. Well, this is sometimes not as easy as it sounds. We want to be songwriters, but the actually writing part we dream, talk, and read about sometimes more than we DO. It helps when we have a reason to write: an event, a service, a subject that someone has asked for a song about, or in my case, a client who needs a song written.

It helps to have that prodding to actually MAKE you create.

For those of you who create a lot, and write a lot all the time, then good for you, you can move on to step two of the instructions.

If you have trouble writing, and want to write more, then there are several ways to do this. First read through this blog. There are lots of posts to help you think of what to write about and why like The Reason for Your Life Story and Writing Real.

Find a reason to write. Look for an opportunity to write a song. Ask your pastor if he has any topics he'd like an original song for. Write a song for someone or some thing in particular. Think of something that means something to you, a cause, or a way to say an old truth in a new way.

This will be important for our next step.

2. Show.

Now this sounds easy right? Just show off your song. Just let someone hear it. Let 10 or more people hear it. Sing it publicly, or find a good ear that can give you real constructive feedback, or, put it online for all your friends, family, and fans to hear.

For many this also includes getting it heard by someone in the industry and getting it published. This is not a bad goal at all, and in fact, is the daily goal of people who write songs for a significant part of their living.

For more how to go after publishing and how to find an audience for your songs, check out posts like 5 Steps to Getting Your Song Published and How to Find an Audience for Your Songs.

The point is to show your songs to people, get helpful feedback that will grow you (preferably something more than just a slap on the back and them saying "great song!").

Let people know you are a songwriter by putting the songs online, or sending out MP3s to friends (although don't send out unsolicited songs to music business people.)

3. Repeat.

This may be the hardest part. It's so easy when there is limited early response to just want to give up. We try and try and try, but there just doesn't seem to be anyone listening, or anyone who is impressed. But I have found that great songwriters are usually developed over years, sometimes decades. I've seen people who were just writing copies of other Christian songs, grow into seasoned and original songwriters. The reason those people got there is through years and years of study, trial and error and refusing to quit.

"There is no failure except in no longer trying." - Elbert Hubbard

"Try, try, try, and keep on trying is the rule that must be followed to become an expert in anything." - W. Clement Stone

No matter what your skill or experience level, to be a successful songwriter means to be writing songs, letting them touch and affect other people's lives, and then keep at it. Money or not, success or not (and that is different per person), this is ultimately what life as a songwriter is all about.

Have a great week!

Eric Copeland is a songwriter and has continually shown his songs off for years, even if people didn't want to hear them. But it has led to a full-time life doing music (for better or worse! ;) To find out more about their services for Christian songwriters go to

1 comment:

Kup said...

Great article!!! Thank you!

About Me

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Eric Copeland is an author, producer, keyboardist, songwriter, and president of Creative Soul Companies. What is Creative Soul? Our main goals are to inform, encourage, and assist Christian creative folks in ministry, no matter where they are in their journey. Thanks for reading! Find out more about us at