A Bit O' Philosophy
(skip to sonwriting ideas)

I got better at writing songs when I quit trying to write hits all the time. I still try to write good songs (even hits) and improve my ability but my approach is different now.

If I was always focused on writing hits I would miss some of those songs that have special meaning in a way that keeps them out of the so-called mainstream. After all, a river is defined by all of it's water and it's banks but you will never find all of the water flowing down the mainstream. I doubt many people would claim that it should. Consider the following quote from the A&R company, TAXI :

"Every label president, A&R director, publisher and film & TV music supervisor will tell you that the key to success in the music industry is great songs."(ref link ck'd Mar 2011)

I can't fault them for advocating hit songs. They're not going to make money otherwise. That is why they talk about "...success in the music industry..." Not every songwriter's goal is success in the music industry. But, I believe that all songwriters are part of the great river of music that has a recognizable mainstream. Aside from writing that great hit that sets you up for life, consider what you want to be doing with your music for the rest of your life. Working for the music industry takes a lot of time and effort so, you might want to consider the personal cost and be sure you are willing to commit.

Let's remember that every performer is going to work from their repertoire. Notwithstanding the top-40 bands, it is the variety of songs and way the performer presents them that is every bit as important as having great songs. Carol King wrote and recorded You've Got a Friend. James Taylor covered it and made it a hit. So, don't simply discard a song because it doesn't grab you right away. It may need to grow on you or it may need to inspire someone else before it can be truly appreciated.