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How Long Should a Songwriting Session Be?

Original article from: http://www.secretsofsongwriting.com/2016/11/29/how-long-should-a-songwriting-session-be/

If songwriting is the kind of activity for you where there’s no particular pressure to get something written, there’s nothing like the freedom of starting and stopping as the whim hits you.

The biggest problem with writing when you want to is keeping disciplined. There can be days (weeks? months?) when it’s hard to get something done without the focusing pressure of a deadline.


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If, however, you’re the kind of songwriter for whom music is either a career choice, or forms a good chunk of your income, or at least has that potential, you’ve got the added pressure of getting work done in a timely fashion, and possibly having several songs on the go at any one time. You’ve probably got band rehearsals, gigs, and possibly recordings to do.

That puts songwriting in a different category: you don’t have the same luxury of writing when you feel like it, and stopping when you don’t.

So the question of how long a songwriting session should be becomes more important. You’ve got a lot of music to write, let’s say, but you get easily frustrated with songs that don’t come easily.

In those cases, how long should a songwriting session be?

Pacing Yourself

You’ll guess correctly that there’s no one right answer, and that it depends on the personal characteristics and approach of each individual songwriter. But if you find writer’s block keeps becoming a problem for you, you may need to rethink how you’re pacing yourself as a writer.

Here are some tips for helping you to gauge how long your songwriting sessions should be.

  1. Divide your day into 3 sections or “chunks” of time: morning, afternoon, evening.
  2. Aim to write for one hour in any one section of a day.
  3. Aim to write for one or two sections per day.
  4. If any section of a day includes school or work, don’t force yourself to fit songwriting in. In other words, if you work from 9 to 5, the evening is going to be your one songwriting session for that day.

Now, that just gives you a blueprint for what a day of songwriting could look like. There are days when you’ll want or need to write more, especially if you have a gig or rehearsal that needs your new song finished.

No matter what your songwriting needs are, there’s always the chance that you’ll get stuck in your songwriting process, and need to step back a bit to keep frustration from growing into writer’s block.

So the issue of frustration is always going to be the determining factor for how long a songwriting session should be. Frustration is no friend of the arts.

The best solution for busy songwriters is to have several songs on the go at any one time. That gives you the option of switching to a different song as a way of dealing the frustrations that are happening with your current one.


Gary EwerWritten by Gary Ewer. Follow Gary on Twitter

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