What If I Can't Sing?
Many great songwriters can't sing well. Some can't sing at all. This shouldn't stop you from writing a melody. If you're one of those people who can't even sing in the shower, there's still hope.
The first order of business is to determine the severity of your problem. Examine your singing, and be realistic with your assessment. An important point to consider is your experience. No matter how good you are, or think you are, performing experience will absolutely make you a better songwriter.
If you come to the conclusion that you're far from being a good singer, your biggest worry will be whether or not to use your own voice on a demo. If you think there's a possibility for improvement, take some vocal lessons when you have time and money.
Call up a friend that everyone says is a good singer. Get a guitar or a keyboard, it doesn't matter if you can play or not. Pick a note. (On a keyboard, just play a note right in the middle. On a guitar, pluck one of the two middle strings.) Try to make the note that you hear from the instrument with your voice. If it seems too low or high, find one that's better suited to your voice. When you feel that you have matched the note you heard from the instrument, ask your friend if it was on pitch.
If the answer is yes, try a few other notes and see how you do. If you match several correctly, then your sense of pitch is good and you just need some singing lessons and lots of practice. Remember, the voice is an instrument and instruments require practice for control. Singing requires a different type of muscle control than talking. Frequent singing, under the supervision of a qualified instructor, will get your voice in shape in a few months. Think of a vocal teacher as a personal trainer for voice muscles.
If you can't match the notes perfectly, but you get close, you need to train your ears a little. Practice matching notes and singing with the radio or CDs for a few weeks and test yourself for signs of improvement. Get vocal lessons from a patient teacher.
Almost everyone is uncomfortable with hearing a recording of his or her own singing voice. This applies to many professional singers as well. Recording frequently can help you overcome this discomfort and is helpful in pointing out areas that need work.
If your friend says you're not even in the ballpark and it all sounds the same to you, don't despair just yet. You may have never developed the part of the brain that recognizes pitch. Have your friend play two different notes. Do they
Sign up for piano or guitar lessons and learn to play some melodies. Build up to picking out favorite melodies by ear and having your teacher check the results. As you progress, your sense of pitch will slowly get better. Try singing along as you play. This will forge a connection between your brain and your vocal muscles. As soon as you can sing the notes you play, add vocal lessons to your learning regimen.
What if you can't even
If, after several months of work, you still can't hear a difference between two notes, consider focusing on lyrics. If you can't do that either, congratulations, you are now qualified to be a publisher or a record company president, but keep trying!