A lot of us have broad musical tastes, and like different kinds of music at different times. So, it makes sense that songwriters might like to write different kinds of music at different times as well.
The music industry does not really reward this behavior, to put it mildly.
So as a songwriter, you come to a significant question: why are you writing songs?
What do you want to happen with these songs? Are you writing for your own pleasure and enjoyment alone? Do you even want to share them? Do you want to record them yourself as a performing artist? Do you want to pitch them to other artists to record?
Your goals will define what kind of songs you write, or at least choose from what you write.
If you like writing songs for the fun of it: write whatever makes you happy.
If you want to use your own songs as a performing artist now you have questions to answer: what is your brand? What songs fit the brand and image you have chosen? You will need to write or at least focus on songs that work for your audience. Who are they?
If you plan to pitch songs for other artists, now ask all those questions about them: what is their brand and image? What do they sing about generally, and what would not work? Are they looking to stay true to the brand for the next project, or do they WANT to try something new? What do they have already, and what can you offer that compliments that material?
If you plan to pitch songs for placement in TV, films, commercials, or the like: now you need to write as universally, or generically, as possible, so that material is not only inoffensive to marketers, but can be re-used for similar calls for material.
I know what it is, I just don’t have a name for it yet.
My goals? I am trying to focus on my personal satisfaction as a writer and performer first, while pursuing as many opportunities to collaborate as possible. I don’t know what to call my “brand” yet… “socially-conscious Americana” doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue, but I know these are the songs that I enjoy singing the most. I also feel a sense of responsibility to comment on our current political, social and cultural situation, and have a suspicion that people out there are looking for authentic viewpoints along with authentic music.
So, what’s your songwriting goal?