I wanted to write songs when I was 18. But I didn't know how. And didn't have anybody to go to for advice. I didn't have any friends who were songwriters. No one in my family was a songwriter. There were no websites and blogs. No books on songwriting, no workshops, no songwriting schools.
I wish somebody back then would have told me these things:
1. Like any other art or craft, you have to learn it, and practice. Songwriters aren't "born" (well, maybe some are). Most will tell you that it's the result of hard work.
2. You have to crawl before you can walk, and walk before you can run. Don't expect your first songs to be great. You learn by doing. Frustration and self-doubt come with the territory.
3. Schedule songwriting sessions. Be disciplined. Show up for work. Put the time in...
4. ...but don't pressure yourself to accomplish anything in those sessions. Have fun, enjoy it. If you put the time in, you *will* get results.
5. Seek out other songwriters. Make friends with them. Ask for advice. Ask for constructive criticism.
I wonder how different my life would have been if someone had told me those things when I was 18? Maybe if I write them here, someone else won't have to figure them out on their own.