SongTown USA: Want to Succeed? Make a Plan

When Clay, Danny and I do mentoring sessions, we always try to come up with an individualized "plan" to help the writer get to the next level, whatever that might be.

Most often, we find that aspiring writers really struggle to figure out what sort of plan can get them where they want to be.

They tend to just wander about aimlessly, hoping that they will get lucky and something good will happen. Or, in “worst case” scenarios, they are actually doing things that hurt their chances of getting a song cut.

It is hard to succeed in any business without a business plan. People don’t always think of creative pursuits as a business, but if you are trying to write professionally, it most certainly IS a business.

Of course, everyone’s plan looks different, (That’s why we do mentoring sessions), but here is a general idea of what we recommend:

  • 1) Look at your team. It takes a team of people to get a song up the charts. You need to identify who your current team is and who you need to bring into the team to get you to the next level. This can include co-writers, publishers, PRO reps, artists, A&R people, etc.
  • 2) Look at your songs. Are you writing great ideas? What is your strength – melody or lyric? What kinds of co-writers do you work best with? How can you find new co-writers? What are your songs lacking? The more you can honestly assess where your writing stands, the better chance you have of improving it.

Once you know the answers to all of those questions, you can lay out a plan to help you build up your team and to improve your writing. Working on both of those areas will help your chances exponentially!

Make a plan and write on!

Marty Dodson

Marty Dodson is a songwriter, corporate trainer and entrepreneur. His songs have been recorded by artists such as Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney, Joe Cocker, Leon Russell and The Plain White T’s. He once bumped Psy out of the #1 spot on the K-Pop charts but that’s another story for another day. Marty plays Taylor and Batson guitars. Follow him here:, at and at Twitter @SongTownUSA or visit

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