A lot of times this business and art form can just be too overwhelming to get going. Most people give up rather quickly, and never go forward in any way shape or form. Now, in some ways, that is fine. We should all be writing for ourselves, first and formost. But I have yet to meet the person who "wants to be the best writer in his/her living room. We need others to advance our craft, no matter what level they want to get to.
So here is a list I would use to 'get started."

If you look at pretty much any city, town, hamlet, there is, there are usually "open mics, open stages, talent nights, etc. in the area. Most are bars or resturants, that have varying nights, or evening shows for non-professionals to get together, play their songs, and interact with each other. There are also karaoke nights, poetry nights, talent shows. Until you find your own 'tribe' or group, you should try several of them.

Look at local entertainment listings. Most restrants and bars have them in their entry ways. Pick up a copy, keep a list of when and where they are. Go out. GET OUT OF THE LIVING ROOM.

NSAI, or Nashville Songwriters Associations International, has chapter workshops in most major cities and many smaller principalities. 
Go to www.nashvillesongwriters.com and see if there is a chapter near you. Joining NSAI can be one of the best investments you can make.

Other colleges, trade schools, theater and local community centers have showcases, workshops, seminars, etc. in creative writing, music, etc. Check out the bullitien boards in:
#1. Coffee shops
#2. Libraries
#3. Music Stores

#3. GOOGLE and Internet searches.
Simply google your area, find what is going on. Usually at your fingertips.

My personal favorite, www.songramp.com is a networking site. Also, SONGWRITER101, a site sponsored by BMI, Just Plain Folks, Tunesmith, etc. are all worthy of attention. Generally visiting one will lead to others.

You are always going to learn more being actually in the room. That is not always possible, so SKYPE, which is a computer program, has worked for many people. Sending messages, melodies, MP3's, etc are all good vehicles for this.

Almost all writers do these and many more vehicles. Getting in contact with one, will lead to others.

#6. Having regular schedules, doing certain things consistantly, will all help build your own network:

4 songs a month, 3 co-written. If you can't write one song a week, you are not trying hard enough.
2 visits to a show, coffee house, open mic.
1 performance per month.

Do this for three  months and then expand the time you spend on networking and writing. See where it goes. You should find yourself in a much better place.

Good luck,


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