How To Break Out Of The Songwriting Comfort Zone

One of the many challenges you might face as a songwriter, is that you’re tasked… not only with creating something from nothing, but your “somethings” need to be unique and better than what you’ve written before. This is no small thing, and the moment you think you’ve “figured it out” as a songwriter is exactly when you need to leave your creative safe place and shake things up again. To help you along the way, songwriter and producer, Cliff Goldmacher came up with 3 whys and 3 hows to get you out of your songwriting comfort zone.

The Whys

1. You’ll keep yourself – and the people who listen to your songs – from getting bored

Songwriting is difficult enough. But by challenging yourself with new songwriting approaches, you’ll stay engaged in the process. And, better yet, your core group of listeners and industry contacts will also stay interested in what you’re doing. It’s just as dangerous to have those folks lose interest due to the sameness of your songs as it is for you to lose your motivation.

2. You’ll demonstrate your versatility to music industry decision makers

By showing you’re not afraid to experiment and explore new musical territory, you’ll show those in the industry – whether publishers, record label execs or music supervisors – that they can consider you and your music for a wide variety of projects.

3. You’ll broaden your opportunities for collaboration

Quite simply, the more styles and approaches that you’re comfortable writing in, the more collaborations you’ll be suited for. The flexibility that you’ll develop by not writing the same style of song in the same way will help you step into a variety of co-writing situations.

The Hows

1. However you normally begin a song, start with the opposite approach

Sometimes leaving your comfort zone is as simple as starting with the lyric if you usually start with a melody or vice versa. The key here is to activate a different part of your creative process in order to come up with a new sound or lyrical angle. Another device which works beautifully is to put down your instrument.

2. Vary your rhyming approach

A typical songwriting mistake is to use rhymes that are so predictable that the listener knows exactly how the line will end before you get there. Look for unpredictable rhymes which not only tell a more unique story but surprise the listener when they arrive. Little variations can open up brand new areas in your writing with very little effort.

3. Write with new collaborators

As discussed earlier, varied collaborations is an excellent way of keeping your songwriting fresh. Even if your idea is unique, going to the same collaborator over and over will most likely result in a similar sounding song no matter how new the idea. As much as possible, resist the temptation to fall back on the familiar.