Writing Tips

author: Colohue date: 09/23/2008 category: songwriting & lyrics
rating: 7.8 / votes: 21 
Writing songs isn't for everyone. While some people find it incredibly difficult others find it easier than anything else. With this is mind I have compiled a list of tips to try and help. Whether you've never written a song before or you have written a platinum selling album, I hope this helps.

Carry A Notepad

Whether poet, author or songwriter the golden rule of writing is to carry a notepad with you wherever you go. This works best when accompanied by some sort of writing implement. Random lyrics and riffs will pop into your head at random times and by the time you get home to write them out they'll be gone. A notepad means you can note your idea down straight away and look back at it whenever you wish. This means you can also continue it whenever you wish.

Draw From Real Life

No song holds more emotion or meaning than one written about something that really happened. Apart from the killer riff Deep Purple's 'Smoke On The Water' was so popular because it told the stort of an actual event. There are a million songs about break ups. Hell Eminem continually sells albums by bragging about how stupid his fans are. Why not you?

Read

As a writer, any sort of reading is research. Your vocabulary is your greatest weapon. There are literally millions of words in the english language, all of which express a different meaning. The bigger the word the more it means and the more it alludes to. Reading a book or newspaper and considering the content can also be a great way to pick up ideas.

Repetition

Repetition is always a difficult one. Choral repetition is generally considered the best way to go, however a catchy line or verse can become much more powerful when repeated. However, if the lyrics don't have the power in them anyway or don't really say anything that is of particular importance to the song then it comes out weak and pointless.

Keep A Thesaurus And A Rhyming Dictionary Handy

Often when writing a song you'll come across a few problem lines. How you handle this will decide if the song survives or not. If you like to make songs which rhyme but can't think of an appropriate rhyming word there are three steps to follow which should help you find one:
  • Confirm what you're trying to say.
  • Use a Thesaurus on the word you're trying to rhyme with and consider changing it.
  • Use a rhyming dictinoary to find a rhyming word that fits the song.

    Inspire Yourself

    Inspiration can be hard to find, but it's not as elusive as people think. Inspiration is simple something that makes you think. Obviously inspiration is unique to different people as people are unique themselves, but here follows a list of ways I try to think when I'm writing a song:
  • Think of a choice you made in life, what would happen if you chose the other one.
  • Make a random thought rhyme.
  • What were your feelings when you first discovered... (e.g. sex, drugs, rock n' roll)
  • Read a book. Imagine you are your favourite character.
  • What would an ex have to say for you to let them come back. So there you have it. Just a couple of suggestions which will hopefully help any songwriters out there. I always enjoy reading songs so the more there are the better for me. Thanks for your time. Tom Colohue
  • More Colohue lessons:
    + Outright Writing. Part Two Songwriting & Lyrics 01/15/2010
    + Outright Writing. Part One Songwriting & Lyrics 01/08/2010
    + Writing Tips 3 Guitar Techniques 12/10/2008
    + Writing Tips 2 Guitar Techniques 11/27/2008
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