Can anyone write a song? In theory...yes; however, songwriting is a frustrating process with no set rules to particularly follow and even the most well-known writers struggle with inspiration sometimes. That being said, you don’t have to have a technical mind to start writing, let’s take a look at where you can begin on your songwriting journey and build from there. These tips can help you organize and compose more songs to practice and perfect your craft.
When you first start to write, you’re going to need to come up with some ideas. First and foremost, make sure you have somewhere to always capture your ideas and it doesn’t have to be fancy, many artists use their phone’s notes and journals. Recording on your phone is a good way to store a melody or phrases that piques your interest. Whenever these ideas do come to you, jot them down! Even if you think nothing will come of it, keep track of any lyric, hook, melody, etc. Who knows when they’ll come in handy.
What type of song are you looking to write? Music genres have certain slang, history, beats, etc. that they are commonly associated with, use that when you are starting your process. EDM is heavily focused on the instrumentals whereas country tends to emphasize the lyrics. When you are drafting your song, a good option is to draft quickly, don’t put too much thought into how you’re piecing together your art because you can revise it later. Think of the emotion you’re hoping to convey to your audience. Implement the sadness, sexiness, happiness etc. into your lyrics and melody. As you advance in songwriting, implement multiple emotions into your songs, such as sadness and nostalgia for a unique journey. Remember to use melodies and harmonies to switch up and build the energy around the song. And pulling from an authentic experience can help you progress your lyrics quicker. Maybe get creative and shake up the traditional song structure.
If you want to get more technical, think about studying music theory and revisiting the basics of songwriting when you have extra time. This can help you dive into lyrics, melodies, harmonies, rhyme, editing specifics, and solutions to songwriting.
A Fun Approach
Still stuck in a rut? Several musicians use unorthodox methods to get in the zone for writing music. Maybe try out a few of these:
- Play five radios at once
- Look out the window for a really long time
- Don’t talk for the entire day, just listen
- Set an absurd time limit
- Cut your lyrics into a million pieces
Read over your song many times until you have it completely memorized and engrained in you, don’t become too attached to one version, revise frequently to see the different ways you can finalize your sound. If nothing is standing out to you anymore, take a break from working and have a trusted friend or fellow musician take a look at it. Like with any art, a fresh set of eyes and ears offers a new perspective.
When you are done revising, rewrite your song over again for a fresh outlook on a potential final contender. Be open to building on and editing your songs and don’t be afraid to have bad songs. Everyone can’t be expected to have the next #1 single their first time writing, it takes time to develop. And songwriting being a creative process in itself will sometimes lead to upsets and retrials. Having a realistic outlook on your journey will less likely result in feeling discouraged.
Written by MaKenzie Hall