What I Learned Managing Successful Songwriters

I was thinking today about the amazing privilege I’ve had to manage some of the greatest professional songwriters I’ve ever met. I had many years in Nashville as VP of Publishing for Star Song Media and then for Integrity Music managing dozens of high-end writers and creating hundreds of pieces of product that have been sold all over the world. I’ve been amazed at the journey and it keeps on going – there’s no shortage of people wanting to become great songwriters! I want to share three critical things I’ve learned along the way that successful songwriters do so you can put them to work in your songwriting immediately.

Creativity is a discipline, not a gift. #writebettersongsnow Click To Tweet

A lot of people think they’re “not creative,” but they’re really just undisciplined in their creativity. Things like accounting and auto mechanics should NOT be creative, but songwriting and creating great music SHOULD be. If you’re struggling to feel creative, it’s really just because you’re not working the creative muscles in your brain. Deciding you WANT to be creative is the first step, then work a little each day at feeding your creativity. I don’t even believe in “writer’s block.” Writer’s block is the result of not being a disciplined creative.

Resourcing yourself is the critical key to songwriting success. #writebettersongsnow Click To Tweet

Most writers I know don’t listen enough. Because they want so badly to be heard, they don’t bother to listen to anyone else and wind up stuck in their own ruts creatively. Reading, listening, journaling, and doing things actively that boost your sense of joy and aliveness are critical to having something worth saying in a song. If you’re only puking out your pain in order to “share your heart,” you’re probably everyone’s time. The 12th Century poet Rumi said, “…people want you to be happy, don’t keep serving them your pain…” Unless melancholy is your brand, people don’t need more. Resourcing yourself creatively is the only way you’ll have great things to write about. Finding fresh ways to talk about love never gets old.

Having the right tools for songwriting brings exponential success. #writebettersongsnow Click To Tweet

It’s funny how God seems to give the best songs to the people who know how to write. I’ve had people argue me up and down and even hate on me because I believe God gives inspiration for songs, but expects us to write them. I know there are people who seem to “receive songs” effortlessly and maybe even a song or two we all want to sing. But those people are the rarest of exceptions. The rest of us have to learn to write well, or we’ll write tons of songs no one but us care about. “Writing from your heart” is great if your heart knows how to write. We all need to keep adding to the toolkit the kind of songwriting tools that will help us get the job done. For example, we had a leaky toilet that was driving our water bill up. I finally decided to work on it and rebuilt it completely, even taking the tank off the back and getting it back on without a flood. It still leaked. When I called the plumber in, he told me I had everything right but one thing  –  I didn’t have this giant wrench he has to use to tighten one ring on a gasket that was impossible to tighten any other way. I simply didn’t have the right tools to complete the job. I fixed the toilet “from my heart,” but I was lacking the very tool I needed to finish the job.

Just like Olympic athletes, even talented songwriters need great coaching. #writebettersongsnow Click To Tweet

Everyone needs a mentor and a coach and a guide and someone to give feedback on how to tighten the ring just right to make the song not leak. If you’re a songwriter who’s very serious about getting the right tools, for a limited time, I’m offering a free 15-minute strategy call to talk about your goals and see if there’s anything I can do to help you write the best songs you’ve ever written, songs that could actually have a shot of being sung the world over. Just use this scheduling link and we’ll jump on a quick call and get clear on what you need to go to the next level. http://meetme.so/specialserviceteam

John Chisum

John Chisum is a pioneer in the Christian music business, serving alongside people such as Bill & Gloria Gaither, Twila Paris, Paul Baloche, Don Moen, and many more. As Managing Partner of Nashville Christian Songwriters, John seeks to empower Christian songwriters worldwide to discover and fulfill their call to write.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. I’m looking for a motivated Gospel song Publisher and also co-writers.
    I’ve had 4 Gospel songs professionally recorded which was a Blessing for me.
    Also, was in the first original top 8 in the Virginia State Song contest.
    I also co-write w/ Mr. Roy August from Nashville. He wrote “Setting Fancy Free”
    that the Oak Ridge Boys recorded, which was a #1 song.
    I find your message as a great tool and inspiration.
    Thanks,
    Ron Stoots

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