More Tips for Writing a Song

Are you having trouble writing a song? The songwriting process isn't necessarily an easy task and perhaps we shouldn't expect it to be. It’s often referred to as a labour of love. Labour being the operative word. For me it’s a love-hate relationship!

But with practice songwriting does become easier. Here are a few tips to help things along.

1. Try Something New
Personal songs about love or how you’re feeling are wonderful.

But have you ever tried your hand at writing a song inspired by an historic event that you didn’t witness first hand?

Check out Robbie Robertson’s “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”, or “Don’t Drink the Water” by Dave Matthews Band. These types of songs are compelling because they are based on real-life events and are filled with powerful human emotions.

It’s to your advantage that the outline of the story is already there. The stage is set. All you have to do is write a story within that story. You can make your song even more compelling if you become a character in the story and write it in first person!

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writing a song
2. Write the Lyrics to Match the Music
Sometimes it can be difficult coming up with new lyrical ideas. If you’re not sure what you want to write about, write an instrumental.

Write it with a clear and definite melody, with a verse section, chorus section, perhaps a bridge. Make it memorable and able to stand on its own as an instrumental.

Now, how does this tune make you feel? What kinds of emotions does it stir up? Take some time to really explore your feelings and then write your lyrics to match the mood the music evokes.

3. Think of Yourself As a Songwriter
Don’t underestimate the power of this one. It is of vital importance that you believe in your abilities as a writer. Make a point to always think and speak as though you are a successful songwriter.

This is not an excuse to not work on your songwriting skills. You must do that. But you’ll do it a lot better if you make being a songwriter a big part of your life. To do this you must think and act like a songwriter often, not just when you’re writing a song.

But when you are writing a song it’s imperative that you believe you’re good at what you do.

4. Be Aware
Always be aware and on the lookout for new songwriting opportunities and be ready to capture them. This goes hand in hand with Tip No. 3. If you think of yourself as a songwriter you will be tuned into your environment.

When you are tuned in this way your ears will prick up when someone utters a catchy phrase. You will notice a cool slogan or headline that you could use when writing a song.

5. Find Your Voice
We all have our favourite artists we like to listen to and be inspired by. It’s also tempting to emulate these people who are successful in the way we want to be successful.

It may be healthy and natural to draw inspiration from their music and success stories, but resist the temptation to copy them.

There’s nothing wrong with writing songs in their style, but strive to find your own voice. You are unique as a person; be unique as a songwriter too.

6. Let the Song Take Its Natural Course
Writing a song you can be proud of is a wonderful feeling. It sometimes seems to materialise out of thin air, almost like it’s already been written and has simply been waiting to be channelled.

The song I end up with is often quite different from the one I started out writing. This can be true not only for the storyline but style as well. One song I wrote started out as a rock number and ended up as a piano ballad. Now I can’t hear it any other way.

I’ve learned to not force a song to be a certain way. If it seems to want to turn into something else, I allow it. It may sound strange, but sometimes the song knows better than I do what it’s supposed to be.


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