Songwriting may seem like a fun pastime, but for many it’s a job. A paying job.
As with writers of any kind, songwriting takes discipline and hard work to support yourself and a family.
Mark “Brink” Brinkman has that kind of work ethic and has the songwriting credits to prove it. He has had more than 130 of his songs recorded, according to his website bio, and among his several honors has been a Chris Austin Songwriting finalist five times. (I've been informed that he actually has more like 300 cuts now. That's phenomenal considering that getting just one of your songs recorded is a dream come true for many struggling songwriters.)
At a recent songwriting workshop the accomplished songwriter conducted at the annual MerleFest festival in Wilkesboro, NC, Brink showed that his creativity extends beyond creating marketable music. He also comes up with ideas to promote his creative output.
One tactic he has used is attending music conferences to meet publishers and artists and producers. He sets up a booth with samples of his music and has a CD burner handy to make copies of tracks someone may be interested in hearing again, and perhaps using. It’s a cool way of pitching your original music.
As for his writing routine, his baseball cap, a custom job that his wife had made just for him, provides a clue to his daily morning ritual. It mentions two of his essentials for effective songwriting: quiet time and coffee.
But penning a tune – a great song – is just the beginning if you want to commercially support your work.
Here are just a few of Brink’s tips about what comes next:
- Identify your market and study it
- Research publishers, artists and bands
- Follow up
- Network, network, network
- Pitch and pitch and pitch
In addition, he offers one last piece of advice for writers – like me – who may once in a while complain about a lack of commercial success:
“Write more, whine less.”