I know how frustrating it can be to try and write a song. There are times when it seems you have a great idea but just can’t seem to find the words to express them, and then there are those days when ideas don’t come up at all. I know that it’s not easy, but songwriting is a craft that you can refine and work on.
Just Write the Song
One of the things that I’ve noticed with most aspiring songwriters is they worry too much about whether they’re “doing it right”, whether the song is too long, it doesn’t rhyme enough etc. I suggest you just write the song and don’t try to cram it and worry the song doesn’t get “too long”. Let the idea just flow out of you and worry about the song structure later.
If you can’t think of anything in the past, look for any object in your room and write about it. Don’t think you’re writing a song, and just think that you are exercising your creative ideas. Practice this daily.
Writing Down the ideas
Think of an experience in the past that had a major impact in your life, such as your wedding, landing your first job, or you can just write about your favorite author, sports team, etc. It could be about a girl or guy, a car, or your feelings right now or the past. You can write about emotions like love or it can be walking along the countryside.
Start writing about the subject, and don’t worry about creating four lines that rhyme. When writing this down, employ all your senses. Don’t worry about the grammar and just think of it as your consciousness expressing itself.
Examine Your Work and Writing a Song
Look back over what you have written and assess it. Which part struck you emotionally the most, and which ones didn’t? Don’t judge or ask why, just note down the parts that did affect you and leave out those that didn’t.
Now you can start writing your song. Some songs are composed of vignettes that center on a specific theme. But other songs tell stories. At this point you should already know what type of song it will be.
If the song is a story, write it down. If it’s vignettes, write some short stories that focus on this theme. While these short stories can branch off into different directions, they must at some point return to the central theme.
Now you can put the song together, making sure you add the key points. These will be the central points of the lyrics and will be reflected on the chorus and verses. Add only the pertinent points so it doesn’t get too long.
Tips for Making a Good Song
Remember the following when writing a song:
• Make sure every verse is related to the song you are writing. The usual song arrangement is the point made at the final line. The first three lines acting as support, providing rhyme and reason. Now you need to start filling in the blanks so to speak.
• Again, be careful not to over write a song. At this point you may find that some rhymes can be repeatedly used, while other verses don’t require verses at all. Don’t force the situation.
• Don’t force the song to conform to the “standards”, or what you hear on the radio. After all, what makes a song great and memorable is the fact that it is unique. Sure your song needs to have verses, a hook and chorus, but make it your own.
• Speaking of chorus, it should center on the song’s focal point. When writing a song, remember that the verses should support and lead up to the chorus. This is the standard form used because it makes the song easier to understand.
Personal Songs are the Best
The best songs I know are personal. It doesn’t just have to be about love, as it can also be about friendship, happiness, spirituality, life, death etc. It really doesn’t matter what the subject is as long as you are expressing yourself in an honest manner.
At this point you may be wondering which is better, writing the lyrics first or tune it up. The choice is really up to you, or rather the song. I’ve written some songs wherein the lyrics came first, and there times when I tune in first.
There are also those instances when I do both at the same time. I also know some people who begin with the melody and then write lyrics that fit it. A good example of this is “Yesterday” where the melody came first.
5 Reminders You Need to Keep In Mind When Making Songs
1. Don’t Attempt to Write to a “Hit Song” – Don’t write songs that you “think” will sell a million copies. Just write about subjects and things you care about, and the results will be more interesting and from the heart.
2. Don’t Rhyme for the Sake of Rhyming – It’s far more important that the words make sense. Also, don’t be afraid to use different words and avoid phrases that are overused.
3. Write the Lyrics as Soon as You Can – Song lyrics can pop up anytime so make sure you have a notebook or journal where you can scribble the lyrics. When inspiration strikes, don’t second guess yourself; you can refine the song later. What’s important is you get the basic idea down.
4. Songwriting Software May Help – These programs have a thesaurus, lyrics organizer, references to popular cultural terms and phrases, rhyming suggestions, alternate words and so on. They can make songwriting easier.
5. It Doesn’t Always Have to be About You – Writing songs about how you feel is the norm, but there’s nothing to prevent you from writing about someone else’s feelings about a subject.
I know writing songs may seem difficult now, but the more you write the easier the process will become. The nice thing about songwriting is the results will always be unique since you are different from everyone else.