I did a lot of thinking about goals this weekend.

I finished up listening to another round of Zig Ziglar seminars, and I bought a little goal-setting booklet that he and Seth Godin created.

The idea was to simply list out all the things I want to be, do, or have, then narrow them down to the top four. Those four items are now my four goals for the next 12 weeks.

(I know I previously wrote about having just one goal, but four seems to make more sense to me.)

I’ll be tracking their progress in the little booklet every weekday.

One of my goals is this:

Write 50 songs.

In 12 weeks.

I’ve scheduled a one-hour writing block every weekday for the next 12 weeks. That’s 60 one-hour sessions to pump out 50 songs.

Why 50?

Isn’t that a bit ridiculous?

Why yes, yes it is.

Here’s why.

In the past, for any album I’ve done, I would write 6-10 new songs and then record them. Easy. Simple.

And while I don’t think those songs are necessarily BAD, I think I can do better. I think there are greater songs inside me, but they need to be worked out.

Additionally, I’m fascinated by the 80/20 principle. You can twist it to apply to lots of different things. I decided that if I want 10 GREAT songs for my next album, I need to write at least 50 new songs. (20 percent of 50 is 10.) Theoretically I’ll have 10 exceptional songs after writing a full 50 songs total.

The greater reality here is simply what I’ve been telling you all along:

The single greatest way to get better at my craft (in this case, songwriting), is to FINISH.

Finish, finish, finish.

That means I take off the pressure to make my next 10 songs my best 10 songs.

I just have to write, every day.

There’s a good chance the first 25 songs will be rubbish, but that’s okay. The more I finish, the better I get. And even if I’m not happy with any of the 50 songs by the end of this, I will have given my songwriting muscle a fantastic workout, priming it to produce better and better songs.

So the next step (other than writing a boatload of songs) is to tell YOU about it. That makes it real, knowing that thousands of people will know my goal.

I’ll keep you posted. Perhaps I’ll fail miserably, but that’s okay. I’ll still write more songs than I would have otherwise.

Wish me luck!

Joe Gilder
Home Studio Corner

P.S. This whole repetition idea is at the core of why we run Dueling Mixes. It gives you a place to consistently hone your mixing skills, one song, one month at a time.

We just posted a brand new song in the members. It’s groovin’, man.

Come check it out by joining here:

www.DuelingMixes.com

  • Jimmy

    Hey Joe,

    When you are writing these songs, is your plan sketching out the chord structure and main lyrics for the song? It seems that even for someone as efficient as you, writing a fully-fleshed out song idea in an hour would be tough. Can you go into your planned process a little more? Thanks buddy!

    -Jimmy

    • Hey Jimmy,

      I’m two days in, but I’ve written 2 full songs. Not sure if that’ll happen every time, though.

      I don’t really have a process other than sit down and write. Once I get sold on an idea, the rest comes fairly quickly…usually. Does that make sense>

      • Jimmy

        Maybe it’s my process, but the way I write, I would only be able to write out a guitar part and the lead vocals and maybe some drums in an hour. No way would I be able to come up with the thickening elements or the counterpoint riffs I normally write into my songs. Maybe I need more practice, but I tend to agonize over details, so that’s why I was curious about how you got EVERYTHING in an hour.

        • I think you and I have different definitions of what it means to write a song.

          I’m talking strictly about songwriting.

          You’re talking about arranging.

          I’m literally writing lyrics, chords, and melody. I have no interest in drums and lead guitar parts. To me, that can come much, MUCH later. THe song itself needs to be written first.

          • Jimmy

            That is exactly what I was looking for! I was about to despair at how bad I was at songwriting if it only took you an hour to knock everything out. Once again, thanks for all your insight!