Organization can be a songwriter’s best friend. Yes, disorganized people tend to be
more creative, but you still need some organization to create well.
If you can’t find your songwriting book because you’re disorganized, how will you write
songs? If you can’t quickly locate that song you started yesterday, will you be more
likely to put it off? If you misplaced your instrument because you don’t keep things in
order, couldn’t that stunt a creative inspiration?
Some organization is in order here.
Personally, I find great pleasure in putting things back in their designated places. That
way, I know exactly where to find them when I need them. Maybe I’m a control freak,
but that’s how I roll.
One thing is for sure: I definitely don’t keep the creativity gods waiting at the door
because I can’t find a pen.
Tips For Organizing Your Voice Memos
I highly recommend using voice memos or some digitally-backed-up way to record your
song ideas. There’s nothing worse than coming up with a great idea only to forget it the
Any smartphone nowadays comes with a voice memo or voice recorder app. Why not
put it to good use?
When you record your song idea, I’ve found it helpful to state the chord progression in
the recording. This is especially helpful if you’re playing abnormal chords or chords that
would be difficult to tab later on. If you’re like me and you play around with alternate
guitar tunings and “made up” chords, saying aloud what you’re playing on the recording
is a life-saver to your future self.
If you’re going to be using voice memos to record and remember your songs, make
sure you properly title the files. You could even title the file with the chord progression.
Because there’s nothing worse than scrolling through a bunch of numbered “New
Recording” files, wondering which one has the catchy melody that goes bum-ba-bum-
The next step is to organize your voice memos into folders. You can either do this on
your phone or you can use an app. I personally love Evernote, but you can pick the one
that works for you. The point is, organize your voice memos into folders. Each folder
can be for one song, an album, or just a folder called “Song ideas (audio),” as I have on
my Evernote app.
Another thing you may want to note on the recording is who the songwriters are. Let’s
say you and your friend do a co-write and you come up with something that’s worth
pursuing. You sit down together, hit record on your voice memo app, and you both state
your name and that the song is a 50/50 co-write. Then you play a demo of the song.
It takes 10 seconds and it ensures both of you are properly credited. It’s not a legal
contract, but at least it’s something.
Tools To Help You Stay Organized
As I mentioned above, I’m in love with the Evernote app for songwriting.
● You can store voice memos and lyrics in one file (called a “Note”)
● Record your song ideas within the app or send previously recorded voice memo
files directly to the app
● View the date your Notes were created and last updated
● Create Notebooks where you can store Notes for different projects
● Easily share Notes with your fellow Evernote users
● It’s completely free to use
● You get a 60 MB monthly limit that resets every month
Literally all of my songs in progress are, in some form, on my Evernote app.
An alternative to Evernote is using Google Drive and Docs. You can basically do the
same things, I just think Evernote is more user-friendly.
For example, inserting an audio file into a Google Doc is possible but not as seamless
as Evernote. Plus, uploading a bunch of audio to your Drive will soon take up all the
available space until you have to start paying for more storage.
That said, Drive/Docs is still a solid option.
Box.com (and the Box app) is also another tool you can use for storing songwriting
The way I envision it working is to upload voice memos of your song ideas into a folder
for that song. Then create a “Box note” to type your lyrics. Then any other
accompanying notes or contracts regarding that song could go in that folder. And you
can do this all from your phone.
With a free Box account, you get 10 GB, so you might run out of room quickly and have
to upgrade to a paid account, depending on how much you write songs.
But whatever tools and tips you use from this post, I know they’ll help you be a more