I coach songwriters all over the world and one of the ways I like to see what they’re talking about is through joining songwriting groups on Facebook. If you haven’t already, I would recommend doing a search through Facebook and joining them all. Some good insights, lively conversations and you may even connect with a co-writer.
You’ll run into some of the same problems you find on any social media, occasional negativity and a term I just heard on Nashville sports radio this week…”keyboard courage”. All in all, still worth checking out.
Some of these conversations have given me good food for thought and there was a post this last week asking “what are the advantages of being a songwriter”? I decided to change it slightly to “what are the best things about being a songwriter”? So, here goes.
A little bit of background first. I didn’t choose to be a songwriter, it chose me! Started out in garage bands in upstate new York, finally record deals and touring and once other people started recording my songs there was no turning back. I’ve had hits, misses (lots of misses!) great times, hard times, got to travel the world and work with lots of my idols along the way. I’ve raised a family, lived in Boston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, London and for the past 22 years, Nashville, Tennessee. Songwriting was behind all of these moves.
So, my top 5 favorite things about being a songwriter:
- Freedom. Freedom to express yourself, write what you sometimes can’t say, freedom to travel, freedom from 9-5. This is one you have to earn through hard work and determination but you know that already. No one pays you in the beginning!
- Relationships. Most every great friendship in my life has been a direct or indirect result of my pursuit of a songwriting career.
- Travel. I’ve mentioned it a few times already but worth saying again. Music can open you up to the world. Co-writing with artists and other writers has taken me to places I never could have imagined growing up in Syracuse. I’ve written in castles in France, hotels in New York, studios in Los Angeles, music row in Nashville, Stockholm, and more far off places than I can remember.
- The buzz. I hope you’ve felt this from your own writing but for me, it never gets better than that moment you feel like you’re doing exactly what God put you on the earth to do. You don’t know how you got from that bit of inspiration to hearing something you’re a part of and if it gets out into the world from there and maybe inspires someone else …that’s perfection.
- Character. I struggled to find a way to explain this but here are a few thoughts. Facing a blank page, trying to conjure up some magic, dealing with an enormous rejection, trying to stay afloat, stay current and relevant, keep friendships, marriages and a roof over your head while you try to focus and even keep your head on straight after some success and do it again and again, you better believe this will build some character over time.
Some Final Thoughts
If you’re focused on security, money or stardom you’re in for a rough ride. There will be more people telling you you're crazy, self centered and maybe irresponsible in the beginning. People can be cruel and sometimes jealous along the way. Truth is you don’t need those people. There are plenty of like minded souls to help you on your path, seek them out at every turn.
Lastly, songwriting doesn’t have to be life and death, doesn’t even have to be a career choice. If it makes you feel good, do it. If you want it to be your life then treat it with respect and work at it every day. It will will reward you beyond measure.
Oct 26, 2017
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Check out this interview in the recent edition of M Music and Musicians Magazine for stories behind a few of my songs!
About Mark Cawley
MARK CAWLEY IDOCOACH
Mark Cawley is a hit U.S. songwriter and musician who coaches other writers and artists to reach their creative and professional goals through iDoCoach.com. During his decades in the music business he has procured a long list of cuts with legendary artists ranging from Tina Turner, Joe Cocker, Chaka Khan and Diana Ross to Wynonna Judd, Kathy Mattea, Russ Taff, Paul Carrack, Will Downing, Tom Scott, Billie Piper, Pop Idol winners and The Spice Girls. To date his songs have been on more than 16 million records. . He is also a judge for Nashville Rising Star, a contributing author to USA Songwriting Competition, Songwriter Magazine, sponsor for the Australian Songwriting Association, judge for Belmont University's Commercial Music program and West Coast Songwriter events , Mentor for The Songwriting Academy UK, a popular blogger and, from time to time, conducts his own workshops including ASCAP, BMI and Sweetwater Sound. Born and raised in Syracuse, NY, Mark has also lived in Boston, L.A., Indianapolis, London, and the last 20 years in Nashville, TN.