Major Goal Setting for Songwriters – PLUS: Free Worksheet Download & Workshop!


Sarah Spencer

SMART Goals for Songwriters Worksheet + How to Set Goals that Turn Songwriting Dreams Into Plans | SongFancy, songwriting tips and inspiration for the contemporary lady singer songwriter

This post was originally published January of 2019, and I’ve given it a gorgeous 2020 makeover.

The information is still majorly relevant – with a few tweaks here and there. Here are my best and latest tips on setting (and reaching!) your biggest pie-in-the-sky goals for your songwriting.

Here’s one such item that’s been updated:

So many songwriters fall into this trap of believing that success in music means being highly talented, and being completely dependent on luck to do the rest.

Ew ew ew ew no.

This is so problematic it actually physically hurts me. And yet I hear this all the time!

Listen, girl. If someone asks you what your big goal for your music is, and you say “To chase my dream,” you will never get there.

And it’s not because that’s a bad dream. It’s just not defined yet. What does chasing your dream even look like?

Not having a well defined dream (ahem – GOAL!) or plan to get you there will at best make you look naive, and at worst, leave you open to people taking advantage of you.

And more often than not, you’ll just wind up letting yourself down.

{PSST – Need some help defining those goals? Come to my goal setting workshop! It’s called “How to Crush Your Songwriting Resolutions in 2020” – It’s totally free and totally the perfect follow up to this post. Register today and during the workshop, we will build your perfect songwriting success plan for 2020!}

Ok so why is this whole get-lucky, dream-chasing thing an issue?

A couple of reasons. Let’s break it down:

SMART Goals for Songwriters Worksheet + How to Set Goals that Turn Songwriting Dreams Into Plans | SongFancy, songwriting tips and inspiration for the contemporary lady singer songwriter

1. There’s nothing definitive about the term, “success in music.”

Like, what does that even mean??

When I ask a songwriter who’s just moved to town about their goals, and they respond with “finding success in the industry” all I hear is “Buzzword buzzword buzzword.” My immediate response to them is “How so?”

What does “success” mean to you?

Anyone in any creative field (and especially music) needs to spend some time defining what success looks like for them. What does someone who is successful in music look like to you? What would you look like if you had success in music? How would you be filling your days? Spending your time? Where would you be geographically? Creatively? Spiritually?

Get real specific wit yo’self:

Is your definition of success selling out every stop on your national stadium tour?

Or is success recording your first album?

Perhaps success for you looks like winning Songwriter of the Year at the CMA’s?

Maybe success for you is getting cuts on a regular basis?

Success is sooo different from person to person, and you are so much less likely to find that success if you can’t define it and communicate it to others.

SMART Goals for Songwriters Worksheet + How to Set Goals that Turn Songwriting Dreams Into Plans | SongFancy, songwriting tips and inspiration for the contemporary lady singer songwriter

2. “Chasing a dream” is troublesome because it takes the power out of your hands.

To say that you’re chasing a dream and hoping to stumble upon some open doors means that you’re a passive presence in your own life.


This is YOUR life! You’re driving this car. Not your boyfriend, not your parents, your friends, not even Siri. So where are you taking it?

When you sum up your creative life’s big roadtrip as “chasing a dream”, you’re letting fate take the reins and whatever happens happens. Shrug.

Maybe you’ll get there. Or maybe your car will decide it wants to go to Cabo instead. Who knows where you’ll end up.

An additional point, sometimes a common misconception is that in order for your songs to be great, or worthy of any validation or praise, they have to appeal to everyone. The literal masses. Every single person you know. And every one you don’t. Yikes. Talk about pressure! This couldn’t be farther from the truth.

So if your music happens to “speak to the masses” and the masses begin to support you, then you must be one of the lucky ones, right?

But… what if it doesn’t?

What if everyone who hears your songs doesn’t love them?

(painful but necessary I’m-sorry-but-I-have-to-tell-you-this-girl spoiler alert: Not everyone will love them!)

This kind of thinking is exactly what leads to bitter songwriters who feel snubbed by the music industry and anyone who ever didn’t care for their music.

No songwriter out there should sit back, write the occasional song, and then be pissed off when that song doesn’t obtain some level of magical notoriety that was never defined.

We have to WORK for it, honey!

Being successful in music requires a ton of work, and that’s true for every area of the industry. So instead of saying you’re chasing your dreams, say you’re working hard to reach your goals! You don’t need luck, and you certainly don’t need to approval of the masses!

SMART Goals for Songwriters Worksheet + How to Set Goals that Turn Songwriting Dreams Into Plans | SongFancy, songwriting tips and inspiration for the contemporary lady singer songwriter

Speaking of luck. Let’s talk about her:

3. “Luck” plays a role, but you can’t count on it.

Yes, sometimes people do get lucky. Sometimes a demo winds up in an exec’s hand and it leads to a record deal. Or a newbie songwriter happens to be invited to a cowrite at the last minute with an emerging artist that goes on to become a hit.

Luck does appear from time to time, but it’s unfair to think that luck is the powerhouse force behind any successful artist or songwriter.

Songwriters work really freaking hard. Musicians work really hard. Artists work really hard. Some people do get lucky from time to time, but everyone is working their asses off.

Luck isn’t a given, so you can’t wait around for it. You’ve got to put in the hard work to see real movement toward your goals. And honestly, you owe it to yourself to take the steps you need toward your goals. Don’t wait around for some luck to show up. Because it most likely never will.

I’m willing to bet that you’d be surprised what you can achieve without luck.

{Schedule in some luck this year by making a 2020 plan in our workshop}

Here’s how to stop the dreaming and turn your dream into a plan.

You can absolutely start working toward the success you’re looking for with your music TO-DAY.

You just need to have a plan.

Ew, boring, I know. I’m not much of a planner myself.

Except that I’ve seen over and over again what good planing can do for someone – speaking from experience, here!

I’ve learned over the years that if I want to get anything done and feel good about it, I need a plan.

A plan is essential because it helps us define what we want, make steps to attain it, and measure our progress to see how far we’ve come and if we need to reassess.

Without a plan, it feels a lot like slogging through the tough stuff with no end in sight. Anxiety loooves a writer without a plan.

Don't call it a dream, call it a plan. _ SongFancy, songwriting tips and inspiration for the contemporary singer songwriter (1)

So let’s start the first step in your plan today by setting SMART goals!

Have you heard of SMART goals before? It’s a method that’s been floating around the internet in the freelance/solo entrepreneur and marketing spaces.

I love creating SMART goals because it’s a fantastic strategy to set up your goals in the most effective way.

It’s especially great for creative types like us songwriters, who have a million ideas a minute and need some help with the follow through!

How SMART goals work:

You’ll first want to start with your big goal, then break it down into little goals to meet along the way. (I have a blog post on that here.) But what makes a goal SMART?

SMART goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-Bound

Having goals that are SMART makes them much easier to meet, because you’ve made these goals reasonable!

Goals that are SMART are a lot easier to digest. SMART goals give you expectations, rather than vague, under-defined dreams with no path to get there.

Let’s dive into the details and create your own SMART goals. Download my SMART Goals for Songwriters worksheet below we’ll talk about how to define your big goal, and how to break it down into SMART mini-goals. The worksheet also has some great tech resources you can use to get your goals set up and in front of yo face every day!

Download the SMART Goals for Songwriters Worksheet

Want to make a plan together? Let’s do it!

I’m hosting a workshop called “How To Crush Your Songwriting Resolutions in 2020” and we will be doing exactly that: Building a plan to reach your biggest songwriting dreams.

You’ll leave the workshop with a roadmap, always knowing where to focus your energy next, and feeling great about what 2020 has in store for you and your music.

I want to see you crush it this year! Join me in the workshop by registering here.


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Sarah Spencer

Sarah Spencer is an award winning singer/songwriter based in Nashville, TN.

Born in the Sunshine State, Sarah Spencer writes vibrant, shining americana/pop music. She works in Nashville TN as a singer/songwriter, as well as a UX designer for a marketing firm.

Follow Sarah on Spotify to get her latest releases.

You can jump on her email list at or purchase her debut EP, "Freshman Year" on iTunes.