How To Quit Being A Songwriter

How to quit being a songwriter?


If writing songs is what you live for, it's probably the only thing that will slow you down.

I'm always surprised by the songwriters I coach who start by asking if they should just quit. Reasons range from "I've never made a dime from my songs", to "it’s probably time to just grow up". I have a hard time with this.

Sure it's easy to say, "that guy’s a real songwriter because he's making his living getting songs cut."  That's only one measure of songwriting success! There's music and there's the music business. The business will measure your dream by chart position and royalty checks. Your heart will measure the music, your creativity, and well...heart! 

Ability is another yardstick. Most every writer I've ever known admits to having some serious doubts about this path at some time. One of the toughest ones is to compare yourself to, say, Lennon and McCartney. If that's the measure then we're all gonna feel like the kid who's too short to get on the Disney ride. The good news is that we can keep finding tools to help us improve.

Maybe we should just call ourselves songwriters when we take something that didn't  exist before and come out with a melody and a lyric, feel an amazing buzz from the experience, and feel the hope that comes with every new creation. Voila!

I think the old expression "if you can't not write, then you're a writer” stills holds pretty true.  If you write just to make a living or be a star you're worshipping the wrong American Idol and sooner or later you probably will quit. If you live to write, odds are you'll be a songwriter... until you die.

What keeps you going as a songwriter when you feel like packing it in?  

As a side note: While I was writing this someone emailed this story to me. You're never too old to write songs, amazing.


Nashville, Tennessee

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Dedicating all my blogs this year to the memory of John Braheny. I still ask every songwriter or artist I coach to pick

up his book before we start talking. 

There is also a college scholarship in John's name, through the California Copyright Conference (John was a past president)'s the link:


Image: Shutterstock


Mark Cawley's songs have appeared on more than 15 million records. Over a career based in LA, London, and Nashville his songs have been recorded by an incredibly diverse range of artists. From Tina Turner, Joe Cocker, Wynonna, Diana Ross and Chaka Khan to The Spice Girls, Tom Scott, Kathy Mattea, Paul Carrack, Will Downing and Pop Idol winners in the UK. He has had #1 records in the UK and throughout Europe as well as cuts in Country, Jazz & R & B. His groundbreaking website Song Journey created with Hall of Fame writer Kye Fleming was the first to mentor writers from around the world one-on-one online. He is currently writing and publishing as well as helping writers and artists worldwide with a one-on-one co-active coaching service, iDoCoach.