Music Production Tips For Songwriters

Q: I’m a singer-songwriter, do you have tips for producing my music?

A: I started out just playing guitar and writing songs that way. I started out without even an audio interface, but only had a cable that ran mic to USB, and Mixcraft 6, on a laptop with a broken screen and keyboard.

All I wanted to do was record my vocal and my guitar and make it sound professional.

But it just didn’t sound that good. Dull, lifeless, and uninspiring and quiet when played next to one of my favorite songs after in a queue.

I was so afraid of producing music on a computer too. I loved electronic music, but since I was used to using a guitar to write songs, I was so terrified that they felt ‘fake.’

Now that I think about it, it was just imposter syndrome at its core. Sometimes I have this battle, but I’ve mostly overcome it.

Now it’s just a decision if I want to write on the guitar. It only produces different results. But you can also perfectly write a ‘valid’ song to a premade track already, either from yourself, a collaborator producer, or a track licensed on a site like Beatstars.

Even if everybody around me loved the song, if I didn’t start it on my guitar, I felt like a fraud.

I don’t want that to happen to you. I don’t want you to feel that way.

Starting your music on a computer first is not selling out, and your music is just as authentic. It’s just using a different tool for creating.

Step Away

Likely you’ll be used to tapping into your creative energy away from screen, though. This can be tough.

I find it very helpful to shut the screen off and back up from the computer and start to imagine and daydream ideas of where you want to take the track, just like you do when you’re writing a song on guitar or piano for that matter.

Sometimes I would get frustrated, like, ‘wow computer! Can’t you just give me ideas, so I don’t have to use my brain!”. Hah!

But with this technique, you can avoid this mental sloth, and start to get inspired in front of a screen too.

Tools

Using tools like Ommwriter, Ommbits, and Freedom help you to get into the flow at the computer too.

Ommwriter/Ommbits

These apps are distraction-free and focused writing environments with customizable ambiances and keyboard clicks.

But if you’re anything like me and know how to change tabs and screens at a flick of a key, using a distraction blocker like Freedom may prove to be useful.

Freedom

Freedom allows you to block any website and app on your computer for specific amounts of time, making it impossible to access them mindlessly.

It also allows you to whitelist, aka allow sites you do want.

Sure, you could hop on a guest account to go browse the internet or pick up your phone after you enable it,  but, at that point, do you really want to? Setting the commitment to block these apps creates a sense that makes wasting time on your phone, not that attractive anymore.

Freedom has an iPhone app, but I haven’t found it to be as powerful as the desktop version.

Phones

Regarding the phone, I got a flip phone recently. But you don’t have to go that far!

Reflection

Do you have anything that helps you to stay inspired and creative behind a screen? Let’s chat!

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