I used to only share my songs out of obligation. If anyone asked, I would find myself feeling guilty if I didn't want to appease their "Let's hear one!" request. In the past, I would try to hide the fact that I sang or wrote so that people wouldn't ask me to perform for them. However, since then, my eyes have been opened to the beauty of sharing my songs with others. For me, that does not look like saying yes to every request. What it does look like is recognizing the people I trust, and those who will help me grow, and being open with them. I believe most writers would greatly benefit from a writing group.
In my opinion, a songwriting group should be a group of 2 or more writers that have committed to helping each other grow as writers. This can look different for every group, but the main point is to make sure you're growing positively. You may be thinking. "Well, I don't live in Nashville! How am I going to find a bunch of songwriters to do this with?" We'll get to that. For now, I just want to highlight the benefits of sharing and being open with your songs. I believe being part of a writing group will increase your confidence, help you find your voice, and keep you accountable to your goals.
Back in the day, whenever I got talked into public singing, I would get the shakes and consequently sound like Chewbacca. As soon as I got used to it, people started asking me to play originals, and then a whole new process started. "Oops, uhh wait, haha, if I can remember how it goes." *Nervous laughter. I've only somewhat made it through this process, but the point is that sharing often, breeds confidence. Confidence in yourself, in your songs, and in your overall style.
Finding your voice
Sometimes it takes sitting with a group of people, who are all different, to really feel that being different is okay. Seeing how everyone embraces their distinct styles should encourage you to affirm (and/or find) your own. The purpose of a writing group is not to create copies of one another. It's to bring out the best in each other.
Another way you can hone in on your style while in a group, is by allowing people who know you well, to call you out. People who've known me for a while can tell when I'm not trying my best or not being authentic. Great things can happen when you're pushed towards your true potential.
Have you ever said, "Okay, THIS is the year my debut album comes out."? Or, "This year, I'm creating my Spotify account and finally putting some music out into the world."? I have... Okay, now have you ever said something like that & then the year ends, and you never accomplished that goal? Yeah, well, me too. That's why accountability can be such a fruitful thing. The people in your circle should be there to push you. If they don't, you may want to revisit the vision and conversation or find people that will help you get where you want to go. Having people who acknowledge your goals, and want to see you accomplish them in excellence, will be a game-changer for you.
Well, I hope that by now you can see the beauty and benefits of sharing. In a future post, I'll offer some tips on how you can start your own group. If you're already a part of one, post a picture together on Instagram with the hashtag #mysongvillage. Either way, be sure to follow us on Instagram and turn on our notifications to keep up with our blog.
And as always, keep writing.