Few generalizations can be made about the job of the songwriter. No two songwriters write in the same way; no two songwriters earn the same amount of money for their work; and songwriters cannot predict how much they might earn this year or the next, or can ever guarantee that, as from tomorrow, they will ever earn a single penny from their craft again. As a songwriter you can earn vast sums of money, but you can also hit the lowest lows the music business has to offer.
Songwriting is pretty well the only job in the business in which you have to start from scratch with every project. A guitarist can buy a better guitar, take tips from fellow guitarists, develop an on-stage style and, with practice, will almost always improve from one day to the next. A manager can mould and develop an act and learn and develop management skills as the act grows in stature and in confidence. Publishers and A&R people will learn from experience how to find, how to nurture and how to sell their acts and their properties, and producers are learning new tricks of the trade all the time—often aided by new technology which is racing ahead of every other trend in the business.
Meanwhile, having finished one song, the songwriter moves to the next one facing the same blank sheet of paper, facing the same fears over whether or not the publisher, the manager and the band will like or even understand this next piece of work, and facing the frustrating fact that no one, least of all the songwriter, knows how or when the next song will be complete and,