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5 Things You Can Do When You Only Have 5 Minutes To Work On Songwriting

Updated: Dec 13, 2019


It’s a common problem among songwriters that you have to do a million things including work a day job when all you really want to be doing is writing songs.

You may not be ready to quit that day job just yet, but there are a few things you can do every day even with the busiest schedule to get you to your goals.

1. Listen –

The difference between great songwriters and so-so ones is listening.

You have to listen carefully and stay alert for all the interesting things going on around you during the day.

If you are in a funky mood, nothing will seem interesting to you.

But when you start to pay more attention and listen to what’s going on around you, suddenly little snippets of conversation will catch your ear.

You never know, you might just overhear yourself saying a line that becomes your next song idea.

The key is to listen carefully and stay alert. Your songwriter radar should always be on.

2. Jot down ideas –

When you get an idea, often it comes as a flash into your mind.

You know without a doubt that you just had a great idea.

But the problem is that in the moment, you don’t take a second to write it down.

The next thing you know, it’s forgotten.

Instead of letting that idea fly by, take a second and jot it down in your hook book.

3. Keep a hook book -

That brings us to the third thing you can do for your songwriting – keep a hook book.

Professional writers all have books full of ideas and hooks for songwriting.

Instead of trying to come up with a great idea on the spot, pro songwriters take a proactive approach, and keep a hook book with lots of ideas, lines and phrases that make building blocks for songs.

If you are not already keeping a hook book, get yourself a small blank book, and start writing your ideas down into it.

Even if you only have a few seconds here and there, you can be jotting things down in your hook book.

This makes all the difference when it comes time to get busy writing.

4. Sing along

Poets write poetry, and songwriters write songs.

Unlike poems, songs have words AND melody. Most of the time what you write will be sung by someone eventually.

So even if you don’t think you are a good singer, take a few minutes and sing along with the song on the radio.

Doing a little singing each day will help develop your ear as a simple form of ear training.

Just singing a little bit will give you an advantage over people who are too afraid to sing anything.

And singing your lyrics will help you to write songs instead of poems.

Singing also is a natural mood booster, especially if you’re doing it with a group.

So sing that favorite song out loud, and build your chops even if you have almost no time.

5. Free write

Songwriting can seem really daunting when you are just getting started.

Sometimes you start a song and get a really good beginning, and then bam – you’re stuck.

The reason new writers get stuck more than professional writers is practice.

Pro writers write every day and that helps them to build songwriting skills, especially that all important skill of finishing a song.

While you’re developing, you can practice free writing to get your pen used to moving on the paper.

There’s something about moving a pen over a piece of paper that you just don’t get from writing on a phone or computer keyboard.

So the next time you have 5 minutes, flip your notebook to a blank page and just start writing.

Letting your feelings and ideas out through the pen onto the paper will get easier with time and practice.

So get started now and start building your skills as a songwriter in your spare minutes.


Not everyone can quit their day jobs and move to Nashville to be a songwriter just yet.

Instead of only dreaming about it, take small actions every day to help you turn your dreams into a reality.

Do you want to make strides toward your songwriting this year? Contact us and let us help you move toward your goals even faster.

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