Darius Rucker knows a thing or two about writing songs, considering he penned 77 for his upcoming second album and 52 for his first. Now he's taking that knowledge and experience and imparting it to songwriting hopefuls as a mentor for the NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Association International) Song Contest Presented by CMT.

The contest, which officially kicks off August 1 and runs through October 31, will assist unsigned songwriters in their quest to become professional hit-makers. The grand prize winner will receive an exclusive mentoring session with Darius. The singer-songwriter, who will release his second country album, 'Charleston, SC 1966,' on October 12, has certainly experienced what it feels to learn from other writers. He's been collaborating with several Music City tunesmiths and fellow artists, such as Brad Paisley and Luke Bryan, to craft material for the new project.

Along with one grand prize winner, the contest will crown a CMT Listeners' Choice winner in the contest, which is now in its 11th year. Past winners have done everything from signing an artist development deal with DreamWorks Records to securing a music-publishing staff writer deal.

Three rounds of judging will take place, with professional Nashville-based writers, publishers and industry professionals narrowing down the finalists to select the grand prize winner, 10 runners-up and 10 honorable mentions. The Top 10 (excluding the grand prize winner) will be posted at the contest's official website. Fans can vote online for their favorite song from January 15 - February 28, 2011. Last year, more than 450,000 votes were cast for the CMT Listeners' Choice.

All genres of music are encouraged. The entry fees are $35 (for current NSAI members) and $45 (for non-members) per song submitted. In addition to the mentoring session with Darius, prizes include a single-song professional demo, tickets to the 2011 CMT Music Awards, a performance at the Bluebird Café and meetings with major music publishers.