Writing Lyrics from the Heart
Writing lyrics from the heart is a very personal experience. It can sometimes be uncomfortable or even nerve-wracking baring your deepest feelings.
These lyric writing tips will get you writing from the heart.
You might even find something to help you get through the anxiety of sharing your most personal secrets. Yikes!
Writing Lyrics from Melody
Most of the time I write my melody first. Check out some of my pages on melody writing. Once I have a well-thought-out melody, I'll listen to it. Really listen.
Allow myself to fully feel the emotions it evokes. Be moved by it.
Then I'll start writing words. I'm not actually writing lyrics at this point. It's more of a freewriting exercise. But I'll try to get the essence of what I'm feeling onto the page.
I might explore a few different avenues, ride a couple of different trains of thought. Then when I see an idea taking shape that I think could be expanded upon, I go with that.
So, in a sense, I let the melody dictate what the song will actually be about. But it's still just a starting point. It can be changed.
Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone
If you want to learn how to write song lyrics that tug on the heartstrings, you have to bare your soul. That's easier for some people than it is for others.
If you write a sad instrumental filled with longing, you're still safe. People don't know what's in your heart.
But when you set lyrics to it, it's all over.
If the song is about being secretly in love, it's you who's secretly in love. If the song is about heartbreak it's about your heartbreak.
Now, you can skirt around this by writing in third-person. You can create a character. He or she can experience the feelings you write about.
But people are still going to interpret your song the way they want to. They may still come to the conclusion that it's really you who feels that way. There's nothing you can do about that.
I love writing lyrics in third-person, but not as a way to hide my feelings. (At least not any more!) These days, I think it's better to face my fears head-on.
Getting Past the Ewww! Factor
We all know love songs sell. That's because pretty much everyone can relate to a love song. So if you want to learn how to write song lyrics that people can relate to, at some point you'll probably want to write a love song.
You may not be completely comfortable with that. Especially when you have to sing it for somebody.
I know, because I was extremely uncomfortable with that. Some of you may laugh, but I was always painfully shy. Even though I played guitar in front of thousands of people, I couldn't bring myself to show my new songs to my girlfriend! (Especially my love songs.)
I had to get past the "ewww!" factor.
How did I do that? At the risk of sounding cliché, I just did it. It didn't happen overnight. But with practice, and quite a bit of embarrassment, I got over it. I'm now comfortable enough to share my lyrics with anyone.
As long as they are finished. I don't show half-baked lyrics to anyone, unless we're co-writing!
So, if you have the same problem I did, there's no easy answer. I really don't have any lyric writing tips to get you through that kind of uneasiness except this: You just have to put on your brave face and get over it.
If you want to succeed at songwriting you have to develop a thick skin. This is even more true when you start submitting your material to industry professionals. But that's a topic for another page.
Writing Lyrics from the Heart
Don't be afraid to write from the heart. It's what your audience wants. They see themselves in your songs. They project themselves into your stories. It doesn't matter if your songs are happy or sad. Fill them with emotion.
Fill your listeners with emotion, and they will come back for more.
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