I wrote a blog post called ‘New Year Resolutions for Songwriting’ back in December 2018, and the points made within it are still valid. However, I thought it was worth re-visiting the topic of songwriting new year resolutions to reflect the different world that we face in 2021.
What impact has the Covid-19 pandemic had on lyric writers?
On the face of it, lyric writers and songwriters have been lucky. It’s a passion that we can do from home and may actually have presented an opportunity to spend even more time holed up inside working on new lyrics. However, that’s an overly rosy picture. The truth is that there has not been any facet of people’s lives that hasn’t been impacted by Covid in some way, and lyric writers are no exception.
Firstly, we don’t write in a vacuum. Many of us have jobs, family to look after and care about, and other hobbies that help keep us fit and sane. For those who aren’t full-time professional songwriters, the measures implemented to mitigate the pandemic may have caused us to lose our jobs, or to have suffered a drop in income. We may have suffered personally from the virus, or have had family or friends who have been impacted. And we may have gone many months without being able to socialise and exercise in the way that we would previously have done.
Understandably, lyric writing (and music creation) may have to take a back-seat during times of emergency. The pervasive nature of the pandemic may also have stripped writers of their energy and inspiration to write. And if you have then not been able to match your usual lyrical output, this may also cause sadness and be demotivating.
How we can use 2021 to springboard our lyric writing
The previous section may have been a depressing reminder of some of the things we lost during a 2020. Let’s get more positive now and use 2021 as a fresh start; a means to springboard us onto a new level of writing success!
We need to reinvigorate our writing ambitions and avoid the pitfall of becoming lost in a cloud of depression and apathy. You can be successful with your lyric writing. You can rekindle your writing mojo, and, yes, you can go onto make this year your most successful yet! Maybe it’ll even be the year when you make a major breakthrough in your songwriting ambitions?
Make sure you set inspiring but kind resolutions
We don’t want our new year resolutions to feel like a drudgery. They need to be inspiring. They need to be things that, when achieved, will make you glow with pride. However, equally, they should be achievable. Setting yourself an objective of writing lyrics that get picked up by Ed Sheeran or Taylor Swift and that become chart toppers is probably setting yourself up for disappointment.
So be kind to yourself when setting your resolutions. In particular, recognise that 2021 is still not going to be an ordinary year. We’re going to continue to see problems with the Covid pandemic. Hopefully the vaccines will slowly help society return to some semblance of normality but, in the meantime, we may still need to work at home, and have our kids spend some of their school days doing distance learning from home. So take this into account when considering the extent of the successes you’re going to aim for.
Focus on behaviours more than numbers
I’ve previously often set myself targets for how many lyrics I am going to write, or how many visits I’m going to attract to my LyricSlinger website. To be honest, I probably still will but I’m going to try to shift my focus so that it’s primarily about behaviours, with the numbers side of things being secondary goals.
So what do I mean when I say that we should focus on behaviours? Well, it’s about the way we go about things, and how repeatable our actions become. For example, a behaviour that may help me to write a good quantity of lyrics may be to set aside time each day to work on new ideas. Ideally, I may like to have 2 hours every day when I can sit in peace to work on lyrics. But whether we end up with 2 hours of half an hour, the key behaviour isn’t the amount of time but that we strive to allow ourselves regular time for writing.
Another good example of a behaviour is collaborating with others. Can we find inspiring talented people that we can work with to create brilliant lyrics and songs? A by-product of nurturing these connections may be that you get inspired to write more lyrics, but it’s the quality of these interactions rather than the quantity that is the biggest win.
You can think about it like you would with a Personal Development Policy (PDP) that you might have if you have a day job. Focus on 3 to 4 behaviours that you’re going to either maintain (if they are already a strength) or get better at.
Is there something we can give back through our lyric writing?
Although 2020 was tough, there were aspects of society’s responsive to the pandemic that were very heart-warming. Communities supported each other, clapped to applaud health workers, raised huge amounts of money for charities, and re-assessed their priorities in life – we all became acutely aware that money isn’t as important as our heath and the health of our loved ones.
So maybe there’s a songwriting new year’s resolution for 2021 that is about giving something back to society? An example could include contributing to an album that is aimed at raising money for a worthwhile cause? That’s something I’ve done in the past – more details available in my ‘Creating a Christmas Charity Album’ post.
Or you could do something a bit different. Writing as a past-time can be therapeutic and there are thousands of people on a long road to recovery with Long Covid. Could you set up a Zoom-based Songwriting group and encourage people to give songwriting a go as they recuperate from their illness?
A new lust for life?
I read that there’s been a prediction that the ending of the Covid pandemic will lead to a Roaring Twenties. The idea is that, after the lengthy Covid confinement that we’ve endured, people will go a bit crazy after the pandemic has ended. That might mean a rush of people seeking out crowded venues for music gigs or sports events, or a frenzy of nightclubbing and licentious sexual activity! Epidemiologist Doctor Nicholas Christakis basses his view on previous examples from history that show that once pandemics end there’s often a period of ‘extensive social interaction’, such as the original ‘Roaring Twenties‘ that took place just after the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic.
If this explosion of social interaction does happen then it’s likely to be good for music and the arts more generally. Who knows, maybe there will even be a renaissance in rock music?! It feels to me like Grunge was the last time rock music really shook things up so we’re long overdue an overhaul of the musical scene!
For us individually, we can maybe throw our renewed energies into our lyric writing endeavours? That is, if you are not intending to hit the nightclubs and help usher in a new age of Roman Bacchanal excess!
Set your Songwriting New Year Resolutions for 2021 now
You may think that New Year Resolutions are a waste of time because you never manage to stick to them. However, if you look at anyone who has been successful in life, they will have prioritised key goals and worked vigorously to achieve them. That applies whether we’re talking about elite sports stars, successful business people, or chart-topping rock or pop stars.
So setting yourself goals is a GOOD thing. They help us to focus on what’s important if we want to make progress in our chosen passion. And even if we don’t fully achieve all our resolutions, hopefully the fact that we have made them a focus will help us shift the dial to some extent. There are a number of factors that will influence the degree to which we succeed in our resolutions. However, the principal ones are typically how much effort are you prepared to put into them, and how much perseverance can you show when external factors threaten to blow them off course?
Good luck for 2021, both in your lyric writing endeavours, and more generally!