On Songwriting: Dealing With Jealousy

Jealousy. It’s bound to happen as a songwriter. Someone has written something you wish you had. Someone is getting the praise you think you deserve. Then you feel bad about feeling this way, which leads to feeling worse until you begin stress-eating Cheetos.

What I recommend for the long term is therapy. Like me, you probably have lots of inner work that needs to be done and it’s going to be a long haul.

But for the short term, here’s a tool that’s actually quite useful when you experience songwriting jealousy. Tell the person you’re jealous of that you’re jealous of them for writing that song. Go ahead, email them or even post a comment on their social media feed for everyone to see.

One, it’s the truth. And, two, that’s the greatest compliment you can give a songwriter. To tell them you wish you’d written something they wrote. It’s a win-win.

Telling them this will make them feel great. But it will also help you feel less bad. Moreover, it will humanize the person you envy after you’ve mentally turned them into an evil villain. That was your jealousy talking; they are not in fact evil… probably.

And remember what I said about therapy? I wasn’t joking.