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The Struggle Is Real: Why Songwriting Can Be Tough (But Worth It)


Writing a great song is such a subjective matter. There are so many resources for so many different styles, but what’s important is finding your voice. Analyze what you listen to, write with others, learn what inspires you, and consistently write music.

The Struggle Is Real

Are you interested in creating an original song? That’s great.

Songwriting is one of the most fulfilling parts of music, but it also can be the most frustrating.

There is a lot to consider when writing a song, and many different ways to find your songwriting process.

In this article, we shall look at what makes songwriting hard, the different processes from start to finish, and tips to help you out.

Man Writing In Front Of Piano

Is Songwriting Hard?

Like any skill, songwriting takes lots of time and practice to get good at. What makes a song good is so subjective, changes with the current trends, and depends on the genre. This means that there is a lot to consider when writing. It can seem daunting at the beginning. 

The hardest part of songwriting is dealing with moments of discouragement. There will be many times when you are writing a song that doesn’t pan out how you expected. Everyone has this, even the most experienced of songwriters.

It can feel awful to try and start again, with the prospect of disappointment. But you can’t get any better and write that hit song without writing many bad ones. 

I like to look at it like skateboarding. You’ll fall and hurt yourself trying new stuff, but if you just quit then and there, you’ll never land that trick. It’s the same with songwriting.

So is it hard? Of course. But can you do it? Absolutely. If you want it enough.

Reasons Why Songwriting Is So Hard

  • Creating an exciting and original melody can take lots of trial and error.
  • Matching the lyrics to the song can take much work.
  • Every chord pattern has been used many times, so keeping it fresh can be challenging.
  • The songwriting process can take time.
  • Some level of music theory is required.
Person Writing With A Guitar

Why Starting Songs Are Often Difficult

Starting a brand new song for any songwriter is no small feat, regardless of their experience.

It can also be easy to fall into the same patterns when starting a song. On whatever instrument is your main one, you will have a particular melody, chord, or chord progression that you gravitate towards. This can lead to very repetitive songs.

The pressure of writing a good song, or even a hit song, is off-putting when you begin writing music. Overthinking at the very start will only sometimes lead to a successful song. The initial stages of writing music are about capturing the essence and vibe of a song.

You don’t need to be super specific about the verse melody, the guitar solo, etc.

Focus on the vibe of the entire song first.

Whether you get a song idea for a verse or a chorus, just run with it. What kind of rhythm does it have? What are the syllables in the melody?

Starting with musical ideas that excite you will lead to more inspiration. And even if you’re unsure, don’t give up straight away.

Any successful songwriter has written more bad songs than good ones. They don’t release them.

See writing a bad song as writing in your diary. No one else will see or hear it. It’s just for you to get it out and make room for something positive in your head. And sometimes, a song that starts shakey can be a great one. So follow your instinct to write and practice a thousand times.

Why It’s Hard To Finish Your Songs

As difficult as it can be to start a song, it’s much harder to finish one. You can get a creative wave and begin writing five songs in one day, but you rarely get that same innovative shock to the system for finishing a piece.

It’s also hard because we typically start more songs than we finish.

Please look at your song list and see how many you’ve completed out of them. It’s going to be a few. And I get it; some songs you know aren’t going anywhere. But just like every other songwriting aspect, you must practice finishing the music and lyrics.

It’s all well and good to have a bunch of exciting sections of songs. However, you need to learn song structure and how to carry an idea from the beginning to the finished piece of music.

Are you unsure of how to start writing? If so, check out our article on whether it’s better to write music or lyrics first.

Mistakes To Avoid When Writing A Song Lyric

A mistake I commonly make initially is using the same type of words and phrases in a lyric. But I have noticed which words these are, so I use a thesaurus to see what else I can use instead. I suggest going through whatever lyrics you have written and seeing what you use the most.

Ways To Make Songwriting Easier

  • If you’re writing the same chord progressions, switch to an instrument you don’t know. My primary instrument is the guitar, but I’ve spent so much time on it that I already know what I’ll play. So I write on the piano now, as I barely know that. It sparks inspiration.
  • Set a timer for yourself. This will help you stop overthinking and follow your instinct more. I usually go for 20 minutes. Just write something.
  • Get inspired by listening to new genres of music.
  • Think of a feeling you want to portray and run with it.
  • Collaborate with other songwriters.

Working with others is a great way to progress as a songwriter. For more, check out our article on how music collaborations work.

Does Songwriting Come Naturally?

Of course, as with anything, some people will find songwriting easier than others. But that doesn’t mean that the people who don’t see it as easy can’t write as good of songs. It just takes more time and energy to sharpen your tools.

No matter how much natural talent someone has, they still have to work hard at anything. 

Two Men Writing With A Laptop And Guitar

Does Songwriting Get Easier?

It does. There is an excellent analogy for songwriting involving a tap. If you have a faucet with clogged and dirty pipes, you will get dirty water when you run it. However, eventually, you will be running clean water. There will still be dirt, but you can only get clean water if you run out of dirt.

Most artists write much more music than they ever put out. To have ten good songs for an album, you could write 60.

Aspects of songwriting do get easier. This would be the more technical side of things. You are finding more efficient ways to capture your ideas, making them sound more fully formed in the initial demo stages, and knowing your process better.

Finding inspiration can get more straightforward, too, by knowing what is most likely to help you get that jolt of creativity.

Regardless of all of that, it would help if you still put in the time and effort. No matter how much easier it gets, it’s always much work. But once you have that completed song ready to show the world, it’s one of the best feelings ever.

Related Questions

What Skills Are Needed To Be A Songwriter?

There are an endless amount of skills that are impossible to list. However, some tips can get you closer to being a great songwriter or even a hit songwriter.

– Song structure
– Basic music theory, such as chord progressions and essential scales
– Analyzing other songs in detail
– Patience

How Do Songwriters Find Inspiration?

This varies significantly between songwriters. Everyone experiences writer’s block, but typically, each songwriter will know how to find inspiration.

I use loops from Splice, listen to music I love, go for a walk, or go to the gym. A lot of the time, you’re overthinking it and are getting in your way. Removing yourself from the situation can help you gain perspective and bring new ideas.

Feeling Overwhelmed With Recording And Mixing?

A lot goes into creating a song from the start to the final production. If you need help with how to do certain aspects of these, such as recording and mixing, there are a few things that can be done.

You can learn these skills and how to be more efficient with them. On Youtube, there are countless tutorials for every DAW you can think of. It takes time and practice, but you can get there.

If you want to avoid learning these skills, you could hire someone. Many people have this skill, and you can pay them to do it for you. 

You could even network with someone in the early stages of recording and mixing. They are often trying to build a portfolio, so you could pay a lot less or get it for free.

What Is The Most Important Part Of The Song?

As for every question in this article, it does vary depending on the genre and songwriter. Typically in modern music, especially pop, the chorus melody is an essential part of the song. The vocal melody is paramount, but the chorus is where the hook is.

Today’s music industry has become reliant on quickly capturing someone’s attention and keeping it. A catchy vocal melody will intrigue them, but a catchy chorus melody that they can sing along to over and over will keep them hooked.

What Does A Songwriting Process Look Like?

There are many different ways to go about writing a song. However, you will find that certain groups of songwriters will do it similarly.

The age-old question in songwriting is whether to write lyrics or music first. And it doesn’t matter. Whatever is comfortable to you. All I can tell you is to follow your instinct.

Experimenting with others’ processes can also be a great way to build your own. Read and watch interviews of your favorite songwriters. How did Bob Dylan start a song? What does Lady Gaga first do when creating music?

Final Words

Songwriting is something that I have done for as long as I can remember. I’ve developed techniques to make the process more efficient and put the hours in to improve. But it’s always a challenge to write a song, but that’s why I love it.

Check out this article for a more in-depth look at the importance of lyrics in music.

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