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Open Mic: The 2012 Songwriter’s List of New Year’s Resolutions


Earlier in the week we discussed the importance of critiquing your work from 2011 so that your observations about your strengths and weaknesses can help you to become a better songwriter in the new year. So on that note of trying to strive for a better year to come, we wanted this week’s Open Mic discussion to continue the theme of goal setting and planning.

Our hope is that together we can create a definitive list of new year’s resolutions, so as a community we can all move in a positive direction. New year’s resolutions are a difficult thing to stick to and actually accomplish, so the strength in numbers and support of the Songtrust community will be a big part in the success of this effort.

Below we’ve started a list of new year’s resolutions, but that is only the beginning. Think of it as a jumping off point. The real purpose of this discussion is the comment thread below – we want you to help grow this into a huge list by posting all of your ideas! Whether you have suggestions of basic new year’s resolutions that all songwriters should do, or maybe you have some more specific resolutions that you yourself are trying to accomplish, PLEASE post them below.

Don’t be afraid to comment. We want to hear from you!

Let’s go!

The 2012 Songwriter’s List of New Year’s Resolutions

1. Join a PRO

A PRO, or a Performance Rights Organization will collect your performance royalties for you. In the US there is the choice of ASCAP, BMI and SESAC, all of which offer a similar service. The best bet here is to do some research on your own, maybe even ask some of your songwriter friends which they belong to, and pick which one feels best for you.

2. Produce 1 More Song Per Month

For some this goals will be incredibly easy, and for others this could be the most difficult thing in the world to accomplish. However, pushing yourself to produce just one more song per month is a great way to keeping you on top of your game as a songwriter.

3. Copyright Each Finished Song That You Produce

It is amazing how many artists overlook this important step. If you’ve written a song, especially one that you hope to use for licensing purposes (or even if it’s just something you are proud of), get it copyrighted!

4. Set Aside 1 More Hour Per Week for Songwriting

Giving yourself just one more hour in a week could mean the difference between a song getting finished, allowing you to move on to the next on in the following week, or having that same song trail on, pushing your production schedule back by another week. This extra hour is a simple way to boost your productivity!

5. Listen to 1 New (To You) Album or Artist Per Week

This is such a simple thing to accomplish and will greatly help you to expand your musical horizons, leading the way to new inspirations and better-crafted songs.

6. Eat healthier

We mentioned this in an earlier post and it received some criticism, but it absolutely cannot be overlooked at just how important your health is to your creativity and your drive to work. Eating healthy is a critical step to success!

7. Get Your Ideas Organized in a Notebook or on The Computer

One of the biggest productivity killers for anyone in any industry is being unorganized. If you’ve got lyrics, topics, melodies, or any other pieces of songs that are just lying around on pieces of paper or random docs on your computer, get them organized and watch yourself start to produce more music on a consistent basis!

8. Join a Songwriting Circle

Search your local area for a songwriting circle. These communities are a fantastic way to receive constructive feedback on your work and to meet others to potentially collaborate with.

9. Read 1 New Blog Post a Week on Songwriting

Blogs, such as this one, are an incredible way for you to gain a new understanding of your craft on a consistent basis. And the best part is… the information on blogs is free! Taking just a few extra minutes per week to read at least 1 new blog post means at least 52 articles read in the year. Or in other words 52 new potential ways to better yourself as a songwriter!

10. Collaborate With at Least 1 New Songwriter

Collaboration is an incredibly important part of growth as a songwriter. Not only does it offer a unique and different perspective from your own, but it can help you to refine your technique, making you an all-around stronger producer of songs!

This is only just the beginning… Now it’s your turn.

Now we need your help to make this the most definitive list of new year’s resolutions for songwriters that we can! Any ideas that you have are greatly appreciated, as they will help the songwriting community as a whole to grow in the new year. Thanks and good luck!

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15 thoughts on “Open Mic: The 2012 Songwriter’s List of New Year’s Resolutions

  1. 11. Go through your catalogue of unfinished songs and find the good bits. Discard the bits that stopped you from finishing them and re-use those bits you like as a way to kickstart the year. Try amalgamating two, three or four good bits from different unfinished compostions into one that’s crammed with hooks!

    1. Thanks Ian! Fantastic Idea – Im sure we all have bit and pieces of unfinished songs with gems hidden inside of them. Time to pull them out and show the world!

  2. 12.  Write something everyday.  A verse, a chorus, a bridge, a thought, a haiku, a poem, anything. 

    As to #3, get your copyright REGISTERED.  You have a copyright the minute you record an original song, but registration is what helps you in court.  So… 12(a).  Don’t sign a contract without discussing the implications with an attorney who knows music business *shameless plug* like me!

    1. Thanks for the addition and for the correction. You’re absolutely right about the copyright ownership – I certainly meant to say register your copyrights. Good catch!

  3. I’ve decided my main focus should be production, so I’m devoting the hour first thing in the morning, and the hour first thing after lunch, to dedicated practice. I’m careful not to stack any additional resolutions to my current workload, because they can’t possibly stick. Instead I try to eliminate or consolidate my other duties, to give me the space I need to manage the important things.

    1. Great stuff Brian! I can’t believe I missed practice on my list, thanks for adding it! 

  4. great list… I can’t think of anything to add… I think you have got it all there!! I like the eat healthier part… something I have long believed in for a clearer mind! 🙂

    1. Definitely! Thanks for reading Helen! If anything comes to mind throughout the day or beyond, feel free to come back and add!

  5. Great post… All of these could help me in my resolution to finish up–hopefully quickly–my songwriting project I’ve got going on my blog (  I’m writing, producing, and blogging about 24 new songs.  I’m at number seven right now… wish me luck!

  6. This may sound silly to some, but I’d say get an instant sound recording / music producing app for your phone. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been away from the studio or out and about and had a hook or melody hit me. I take a few minutes to sing it into the recorder or plug it quickly into the app and that way I don’t lose it! 

  7. This shouldn’t just be a list of New Years Resolutions, but a list that every starting (and starving) artist should reference.

    1. Thanks Joel! Im glad you see it that way – these resolutions are things that all songwriters can and should keep with them throughout the year. It’s a great starting point for any songwriter trying to take their work seriously.

  8. i agree with every point of it. posts like this help me to stay the course, keep an eye on the main aims. so, thanx a lot,

    best regards from Poland

  9. Jon – fantastic article. I had a few resolutions for myself and they were
    both touched in this article. One great thing I thing that Ian touched on
    is the subject of re-writing. If you continue trimming the fat and the
    unattractive parts off of an older song it can often find new light. Not
    only is this great to learn from your previous mistakes but it allows you
    to look at your work objectively. Start with songs you have lost passion
    for as you will be more willing to cut them up to make them work. A lot of
    songwriters “marry” the intitial idea/format and are afraid to let go.
    Rewriting is a great exercise to keep you in a healthier relationship with
    your current material.

  10. I really dig the reviews, opinions, and tips about writing
    music. It’s a hard thing to progress at and sites like this help. Great post,
    keep up the good work. Thanks. IStillGotMyGuitar

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