How will I know if I’m not meeting my songwriting potential?
If you’re limiting yourself in any way, you’re likely limiting the potential for growth in your songwriting.
For example, if you feel bored in your songwriting and then stop writing. Or if you buy into a belief that there’s nothing left to write about.
On the other hand, these blocks or limitations can be an invitation to expand. (Meanwhile, fast track your growth and discover 10 tips to overcoming boredom here.)
Sam shares, “in the past, it was about trying to write the best song, fit into a certain genres…”
“I remember about 4 years ago, noticing that I wanted to be saying something different in my songs. And noticing that I wanted to be creating songs in a different way and sounding different. I was already a good songwriter and was working on my craft for years and years. I had a keen awareness there was something that I’d never tapped into before – a potential that was waiting for me.”
What can the process of meeting my songwriting potential feel like?
Meeting your songwriting potential is a journey of discovery of the intangible and invisible – which can be a messy and uncomfortable process. When you sit down to songwrite, it may feel like you’re fumbling, trying new things. Sometimes hitting the mark, sometimes not.
Sam says, “it took about two years of regular writing before I started hitting the mark and everything started to come together.”
What’s more is that this journey is not a process that is in isolation from everything else. This development of clarity and growth in songwriting can be very much linked to what’s going on in your life – your personal growth.
Fumbling through songwriting discovery can mirror life, as you might be fumbling to know yourself in new ways. Whilst the challenges in one may relate to the challenges in the other, the expansion in one also relates to the expansion in the other.
It won’t mean that you can always do this. But you can only know when you write a song that hits the mark, when you write songs that don’t align and hit the mark.
What can this ‘work’ look like?
Many emerging songwriters want validation for their songwriting talent – and forget that they need to build skill and resilience – and a practice!
“When I first started in the Club, I was very much trapped that I had to prove myself as a songwriter every time I wrote a song. And one of the biggest lessons I learnt was to not attach my self worth if everybody loved the song I wrote.
I’ve learnt to remove the expectation of fruits coming from my labour and instead focusing on chopping wood and carrying water. Keep showing up and doing the work.”
The practice is where the skills are developed, the resilience is built and the songs are created. Sometimes meeting your potential and sometimes not. But it’s in the practice – the actual songwriting – that you will meet your songwriting potential.
Sam says, when she started meeting her potential consistently, it was like accessing a magical realm. And here, most of the songs for her new album were written within 13 weeks in the Club.
Writing the album Dear John was really a journey of empowerment and self-actualisation for Sam. To get to a place where she felt fully herself in the world and could express from this place.
“When I removed myself from the process and just served the song, when I released those expectations of who I was in the past and who I should be, I didn’t need to answer the question about what kind of artist I wanted to be. I was just here to serve what was coming through me.”
How meeting my songwriting potential can be more efficiently accessed and developed
To sum up, what are the ways you can get there:
- Keep showing up and writing songs
- Observe what you write (rather than attach and judge) and then do a little analysis. Observe the things that you keep doing the same way.
- Reflect and decide what you want to do about these insights.
- Make choices around this – what do you want to change, improve, develop…
Ultimately, meeting your potential is not about reaching a destination, because when you get there, there’ll be a new potential awaiting you. But it’s about doing the work to remain on your path and walk it with a sense of purpose and empowerment. And to do it in a kind and self-supportive way.
Need some help on your songwriting path?
Sam is a songwriting mentor in our Beginner Songwriting Courses. Find out more here.
Timestamps for podcast audio:
2:13 – One of the first members of I Heart Songwriting Club, Sam recalls how she first joined the Club whilst living in remote Latin America.
9:45 – Sam shares how her self expression has developed through songwriting.
20:53 – Sam talks about the similarities of meditation, yoga and songwriting and how we can be the observer in our songwriting in order to make choices that empower us.
25:04 – We discuss ways that songwriters can grow and expand in their songwriting.
32:07 – Sam talks about her new album “Dear John”, what the album is about, and how her style has evolved by simply allowing the production to serve the songs.
44:32 – Sam reveals commitment to self-expression was where she met the magic of songwriting, as we discuss the writing process for the album.
54:16 – Sam shares about writing her single, “Something More”.
1:01:25 – Sam performs “Something More” live at I Heart Songwriting Club Headquarters.
About Sam Buckingham:
Intricate storytelling, profound poetry and a distinctive pop sensibility drive Sam Buckingham’s songwriting. With two crowdfunded and independently released albums, and her recently launched podcast “Song Baker”, Buckingham is forging her own path in an industry overcrowded with talent. Sam has supported Paul Kelly, Kasey Chambers and Angus & Julia Stone. Contact Sam: Website / Facebook / Instagram
Song credit: “Something More” – Music and Lyrics by Sam Buckingham. Performed live by Sam Buckingham at IHSC Headquarters.
Episode Show Notes:
Get your creativity, confidence, and songwriting output flowing. Join The Club and receive the support and structure to write 10 songs in 10 weeks and get feedback from a private peer community. This is THE essential writing practice that has changed the careers and lives of 1000s of songwriters worldwide.
Just getting started on your songwriting journey and need more hands-on support? Establish a firm foundation and develop your musical and lyric skills with our Beginner Songwriting Courses. They are the perfect place to begin and cover everything you need to know to write your first songs. You’ll receive lessons from Francesca directly!
Don’t struggle to write your next album – write an album a year with ease! Watch our Free Songwriting Masterclass.
Want more for your songwriting but don’t know where to go from here? Take the I Heart Songwriting Club Quiz to discover your next steps and inspire your way to writing better songs.
Get songwriting insights from I Heart Songwriting Club:
Be inspired by Francesca on socials:
Podcast theme song: “Put One Foot In Front Of The Other One” music and lyrics by Francesca de Valence
If you love this episode, please subscribe, leave a review and tell everyone you know about The Magic of Songwriting.