13 Questions to Ask Yourself in the Harsh Morning Light of 2012

I hope you’ve had a great New Year so far. While the year is young, this is a great time to reflect a bit on 2011 and start thinking about what you want from 2012.

Here are some questions you’ll want to ask yourself to take stock of last year. Do yourself a big favor and try to answer them as honestly as you can; be straight with both your successes and your shortcomings.

1. Did I achieve the resolutions I set for myself in 2011?

2. How many songs did I finish? Don’t list any fragments or half-finished works here. They don’t count.

3. Could I have finished more songs than I did? Have I been procrastinating?

4. How happy am I with the quality of the lyrics, melody, etc.?

5. In what ways did I get my songs heard by others this past year?

6. When I did sit down to write, did impatience and lack of focus scatter my energy?

7. In what ways did I upgrade my skills in composing melodies, arrangement, and lyric writing during 2011?

8. Have I taken time to listen to new music and learn from the strengths of musicians and lyricists I admire?

9. Have any bad habits or addictions held me back?

10. How much time did I spend on the web, watching TV, playing video games, or otherwise consuming idle entertainments? How does that compare to the amount of time I spent writing songs and honing my craft?

11. Did I schedule and manage my time to make sure I could devote time to songwriting?

12. How badly do I really want to write songs? Is it my true artistic calling?

13. Am I holding myself back with fears of commercial or artistic failure?

If you sit down and spend some reflective, quiet time with these questions, you’ll likely discover that you haven’t yet harnessed and focused all your creative powers. This is good news—it means your best work is still ahead of you.

Stay tuned. In a few days we’ll arm you with all the tools you need to make 2012 your breakthrough year.

Join 2.220 Songwriting Subscribers

If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing! You'll get new songwriting ideas, techniques, and inspiration via email every week.


  1. says

    True dat. We seem to have inherited a damaging preconception of how artists should be: effortless rock stars with half an eye on their craft and the rest on the perks. Sex, Drugs, and… what was the third one?

    Then again, that’s probably just an excuse 😉 Happy New Year!

    • Nicholas Tozier says

      It’s easy for some talented people to cruise along on their natural gifts, but most people find the craft gets better and better as they invest more time.

      Happy New Year!

  2. says

    1. no
    2. 1+14+52=67
    3. yes, I’ve been procrastinating, I hate myself
    4. it could be much better
    5. posting them during online challenges!
    6. no
    7. I learned a lot last year by reading songwriting blogs
    8. yes! I’m analyzing Wilco to the bone.
    9. I’m afraid so
    10. I minimized watching TV and playing pc games.
    11. no, not nearly enough
    12. very badly
    13. no, who cares

    • Nicholas Tozier says

      Analyzing Wilco, eh?

      They’re good at writing melodic songs that contain just enough weirdness to make them interesting.

      • says

        mmm so you don’t like Wilco. I like their ‘sound’, the arrangements and melodies. Compared to them a lot of the other music I hear sounds average and dull. The singer uses his limited voice very well, their drummer is awesome, and their lyrics are well structured.

        • Nicholas Tozier says

          Actually I do like Wilco! “Impossible Germany” is one of my favorite songs. When I say something is a little weird, I mean it as a compliment. I like Wilco because their songs are melodic but also have artistic and strange touches that really set them apart and make them stand out. They’re a good group to analyze for sure.

  3. says

    Your blog is really helpful and … actually, pretty funny. I will definitely be trying your suggestions over the next few months.