If you want to be a good songwriter, I’ve got a really good piece of advice for you. Listen way more than you talk. What do I mean by that? Well, it’s a multi-layered idea, but I will share it with you.
First, I want you to grasp a really important fact. I am in a massive community of songwriters, numbering well into the thousands, and after varying degrees of career success, virtually none of them still play the first songs they ever wrote. Why does that matter? It gives some perspective that professional songwriters have always used their early composing experiences for growth and development and that with continued writing practice, they got better and better. That should not only motivate you that work and practice will give eventual results, but also awaken you to the fact that you may be falling too much in love with your own early writing.
It’s really important for me to share this powerful observation with you. Whenever I attend song evaluation events, at songwriting workshops, song pitches, songwriting guild meetings, master classes, either as an evaluator or an observer, I tend to see the same thing over and over again. The moderators and panel members at these events usually have incredibly insightful things to say about the songs that they review; the same sorts of things that I tend to tell students about their songs when I’m asked to evaluate them. If each songwriter who submitted a song were to carefully listen to the feedback they are receiving, they could almost instantaneously accelerate their songwriting development. They are given numerous golden recommendations of things that they could do to make their songs better, hookier, more commercial or sellable.