What Are the Best Things About Being a Songwriter

Guest Blog: Mark Cawley of iDoCoach

I coach songwriters all over the world and one of the ways I like to see what they’re talking about is through joining songwriting groups on Facebook. If you haven’t already, I would recommend doing a search through Facebook and joining them all. Some good insights, lively conversations and you may even connect with a co-writer. 

You’ll run into some of the same problems you find on any social media, occasional  negativity and a term I just heard on Nashville sports radio this week…”keyboard courage”. All in all, still worth checking out. 

Some of these conversations have given me good food for thought and there was a post this last week asking “what are the advantages of being a songwriter”? I decided to change it slightly to “what are the best things about being a songwriter”? So, here goes. 

My Background 

A little bit of background first. I didn’t choose to be a songwriter, it chose me! Started out in garage bands  in upstate new York, finally record deals and touring and once other people started recording my songs there was no turning back. I’ve had hits, misses (lots of misses!) great times, hard times, got to travel the world and work with lots of my idols along the way. I’ve raised a family, lived in Boston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, London and for the past 22 years, Nashville, Tennessee. Songwriting was behind all of these moves. 

So, my top 5 favorite things about being a songwriter: 

Freedom. Freedom to express yourself, write what you sometimes can’t say, freedom to travel, freedom from 9-5. This is one you have to earn through hard work and determination but you know that already. No one pays you in the beginning! 
Relationships. Most every great friendship in my life has been a direct or indirect result of my pursuit of a songwriting career. 
Travel. I’ve mentioned it a few times already but worth saying again. Music can open you up to the world. Co-writing with artists and other writers has taken me to places I never could have imagined growing up in Syracuse. I’ve written in castles in France, hotels in New York, studios in Los Angeles, music row in Nashville, Stockholm, and more far off places than I can remember. 
The buzz. I hope you’ve felt this from your own writing but for me, it never gets better than that moment you feel like you’re doing exactly what God put you on the earth to do. You don’t know how you got from that bit of inspiration to hearing something you’re a part of and if it gets out into the world from there and maybe inspires someone else …that’s perfection. 
Character. I struggled to find a way to explain this but here are a few thoughts. Facing a blank page, trying to conjure  up some magic, dealing with an enormous rejection, trying to stay afloat, stay current and relevant, keep friendships, marriages and a roof over your head while you try focus and even keep your heard on straight after some success and do it again and again, you better believe this will build some character over time. 

Some Final Thoughts 

If you’re focused on security, money or stardom you’re in for a rough ride. There will be more people telling you you're crazy, self centered and maybe irresponsible in the beginning. People can be cruel and sometimes jealous along the way. Truth is you don’t need those people. There are plenty of like minded souls to help you on your path, seek them out at every turn. 

Lastly, songwriting doesn’t have to be life and death, doesn’t even have to be a career choice. If it makes you feel good, do it. If you want it to be your life then treat it with respect and work at it every day. It will will reward you beyond measure. 

Mark Cawley 

Nashville, Tennessee