They often don’t understand how much emotional energy it can take to pour your heart out in a song. When I come home exhausted from writing, my girl doesn’t always “get” why that made me so tired. Other songwriters do. We can be quirky people so it’s important to find others that understand. Sometimes the community is not only about songwriting itself, and it can be more about hanging and sharing your thoughts with people from our own breed who can understand us, and we can understand them. Release this “weirdness” energy in the community and we can go home as “normal” people.
Feedback is crucial. On your own, it’s nearly impossible to grow as a writer because you aren’t getting educated feedback on what is working or not working. You need community around you to help you grow as a writer. Having a mentor is a great way for getting these kinds of feedback but also being part of a community will help you much more than you can imagine. One benefit of being in a good circle of writers is the feedbacks you would receive, as well as when you give feedback about somebody else’s work. It means you spend time and energy, listening to their song, study it, think about it and give them your opinion. This whole process is already help you a lot to keep your mind and ears sharp, and if those writers made any mistakes, you would be aware of it and you won’t repeat their mistake on your own work.
Co-writing sharpens your skills as a writer. I don’t know any professional writers that are world class melody and lyrics writers. Most of us need to find co-writers who are stronger where we are weaker. In my case, I usually write a better song if I’m working with a really strong melody person. I can contribute a lot of melody ideas but having someone in the room who is a world class melody writer inspires me to write better lyrics and makes the song so much stronger melodically. It’s best to know your own strength and weaknesses and know it about your partner’s too, so you would easily know who to take care of which part. One example of this can be when Sam Veil and I write together. Sam usually comes up with the best melodies I ever heard, but to be frank his lyrics writing is not that strong. Even in most cases he already has a good idea in mind, and he execute it okay, but at the end I end up taking his words and fixing the lyrics. And for the melodies, his are already awesome, but sometimes I contribute. So basically, we came to conclusion that Sam write first, then I’ll edit it, more editing on lyrics and less on the melody. Like this, knowing what each of us is supposed to do, at the end of the day, we end up with some fantastic songs and everyone are happy! That’s our very tiny community, but it still works.
Community gives you more “points of connection” in the industry. The more people you write with, the greater your chances of one of those co-writers getting a writing deal or having success. The more people you know, the more opportunities you will have to get your songs heard or placed. There are people in the industry running publishing companies that were interns at my publishing company in the past. Others that were co-writers who are now publicists for major artists or A&R people for TV and movies. Because I’ve worked with a large number of people, I now have a large network of people that act as resources for me and help me get songs cut. Again, we come back to the conclusion that when you are running your business, your network is very important. And being a songwriter means you’re running your business!
Community keeps you writing. Being a part of an active, vibrant community inspires you to write, encourages you when you are down, and keeps you going when you want to quit. Always being a part of a community will help you to keep yourself active and involved in whatever that community is doing. I used to play a lot of basketball when I was living in Iran. I was playing in a team and we had a fixed, regular routine for play. When I left Iran, I couldn’t find any team, so I decided to play basketball on my own for a while until I manage to become part of a new team. As result, I found myself not touching a basketball for past 12 years! Being in a community keeps you going.