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Songwriters’ Notebooks: Nashville Pro Writers

Songwriters’ Notebooks: Nashville Pro Writers

Songwriters’ notebooks are the holy grail of ideas, titles, hooks and great phrases.

Afterall, a songwriter’s notebook is a key piece of how things get done on a daily basis for many songwriters.

Having a “system” for keeping track of everything can accelerate your songwriting level.

So how do hit songwriters organize their song stuff?


Lucinda Williams

“Passionate Kisses” (Mary Chapin Carpenter)

“Car Wheels On A Gravel Road” (Lucinda Williams)

“Kiss Like Your Kiss” (from True Blood soundtrack)


Her Notebook
Is a pink Jack Georges tote bag with files in it!


Tia Sillers

“I Hope You Dance” (Lee Ann Womack)

“There’s Your Trouble” (Dixie Chicks)

“Blue On Black” (Kenny Wayne Shepard)


Her Notebook
Has a really neat way of organizing her notebook: on the inside cover and several initial pages she puts quotes and things that happen throughout the year.

After that, she starts her index of song titles, who she wrote it with and the date they wrote it. She allocates some pages for that, then the pages are used for the songs she’s writing,

The back half of the book starts from the back cover and goes toward the front. It includes idea, thoughts, journal entries, etc.

When the two halves meet – new book!


Chuck Cannon

“How Do You Like Me Now” (Toby Keith)

“I Love The Way You Love Me” (John Michael Montgomery)


His Notebook
Uses the left-hand page of the book to write the song out, scratching through the lyric and making edits, but never erasing.

This allows him to keep a record of the changes.

Once the lyric is final, he writes it in very neat handwriting on the right-hand page of the book. He’ll jot down some ideas, but usually just writes the song when he has an idea.


Gretchen Peters

“Independence Day” (Martina McBride)

“Chill Of An Early Fall” (George Strait #1)

“Secret of Life” (Faith Hill)

“When You Love Someone” (Bryan Adams)


Her Notebook
She doesn’t use one! She’s a “stack of papers” kind of person, and keeps her lyrics/ideas on pieces of paper. They’re stacked on her desk and are what she uses to start songs.

The most recent she’s working on are usually on the top of the pile. She usually has 8 or 9 going at a given time.

To her, a notebook is too linear. Piles can be reshuffled and re-prioritized.

The pages may contain a summary at the top of the page that says, “this song is about . . .” to help her stay focused on the theme of the song.


You Should Also Read:

Organize Your Hook Book


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