Songwriting is More than Magic, it’s Hard Work


Sarah Spencer

Songwriting is more than magic - it's hard work. --- Songwriting tips and inspiration for the contemporary songwriter . |

Inspiration is a wonderful thing, but it’s only part of the equation.

Inspiration is that gorgeous little spark that lights us up from the inside. We suddenly stop what we’re doing and we say to ourselves, “I have to write that song! Now! RIGHT NOW.”

So you stop what you’re doing and you pull out your guitar or piano bench and start composing. Chorus. First verse. It’s all coming together. But then, just as quickly as as it came, it starts to feel like that little light has burned out. You’re left plucking the same notes over and over again, hammering the keys and feeling like you’ve completely hit a wall.

Inspiration is that spark that gets the engine started. But it’s hard work that fuels it.

Songwriting is a lot like that. That little spark of inspiration? That’s the 10% that you always hear about. Songwriting is also 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. Progressing as a songwriter means putting in a ton of hard work. Relying only on inspiration will never truly grow your catalog or your abilities. Here are some more reasons why:

1. Hard work helps you write better songs.

When you show up to play the game day after day, you can’t help but progress as a writer. It’s that practicing day in and day out that keeps your songwriting muscles in shape. Whether you’re excited about writing a particular song, or if you simply showed up to finish one because you know it would be good for you, that’s good old fashioned hard work. And it will serve you well.

2. Hard work manages your expectations & sets milestones.

When you write only when you’re inspired to, all expectations go out the window. How can you ever set goals for yourself if you never know when you’ll be able work toward them? Inspiration comes of it’s own volition. It’s not something you can count on to show up every night at a certain time. When you can’t set goals for yourself, you’ll never really know if you’re progressing and you’ll wind up feeling defeated more often than not.

3. Hard work helps you be a happier songwriter.

Ever feel really great after a super hard work out? Or what about that feeling of accomplishment that comes from putting in the time and sweat equity on something that’s important to you? What about crossing that finish line? Working hard on your songwriting will give you that feeling, too! Some days may be a struggle. You may have to run a shorter distance, or life a smaller weight, but if you show up and work at it, you can take pride in your effort and celebrate your accomplishments.

Learn the creative habits of hard working songwriters in SongFancy’s online course:

Living an Inspired Life is SongFancy’s flagship songwriting course on inspiration, finding ideas to write about, and loving your life with your songwriter spirit. Sign up below for enrollment into and more details!


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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.