How to Set Yourself Up For A Successful Co-write

Many people are interested in co-writing but shy away it because they don’t want to fail at it.  Here are some easy ways to prepare for a co-write so you set yourself up for success.

I had heard for about the benefits of co-writing from many professional writers, but it took me a long time to take the leap into writing a song with someone else. Part of the reason was that I didn’t know many songwriters in my area, and the other reason is that I had no experience co-writing and didn’t want to fail at it. After diving in to many co-writes I realized that being prepared goes a long way, and taking the time to do a few things before the co-write will set you up for success and help you be the kind of writer other’s will want to have on their team.

Here are three ways to set yourself up for a successful co-write

  1. Choose the Right Partner(s)

Co-writing is relational, and you’ll find that dynamics that occur in social settings end up flowing into the co-writing session.  If someone dominates a conversation when you’re chatting with them, there’s a good chance they’re going to dominate a co-writing session. If someone is pleasant and easy to get along with in a conversation they’re probably going to be pleasant and easy to get along with in a co-write.  It’s good to “date” around by co-writing with lots of people, but after enough experience you’ll discover what kind of people you work well with and what kind you don’t. Choose co-writers that bring out the best in you and help create a great song.

2. Think About What Song The Room Could Write Well

It’s wise to think about the writers that will be in the room beforehand and consider what type of song would be best to write. If you have two co-writers who have created multiple monster pop hits, you would be wise to steer the room towards writing pop that day. If you know the writer is amazing at creating beautiful poetic lyrics that can tug at heart strings, you may want to steer the write to a folk ballad.  Think about your co-writers strengths in advance so you can steer the song to their strong suit.

3. Bring three great ideas (don’t come empty handed!)

You would be surprised the number of times people come to a co-write without a good idea, title, hook to contribute.  If you are writing up (writing with someone better than you) it is your job to bring the goods!  Bringing a great idea, title, a rough chorus or verse that has potential will make people want to write with you. Until you establish yourself as a writer be generous and go the extra mile by being the one with the best ideas in the room.

4. Be early and prepared

Whether it’s online or in person, get to the co-write a few minutes early. This will give you time to set up, go the the restroom, get your computer going and help ease any stress you may be feeling.  If you want to go the extra mile - create a google doc before hand with the writers names and the date in the title, and put your ideas within the document. Having this ready shows your writers that you’ve taken the time to prepare, value their time and it will give you a reputation as a writer who takes their work seriously.

After you’ve prepared, it’s time to write!  Have fun, stay engaged, be yourself and write a the best song you can together!


Are there any unique ways you prepare for a co-write? What is holding you back from starting to co-writing?