I just wanna compare thought processes to mine.
Note that I have not actually written a complete song yet, but I've written half of a bunch of them, never bothering to get into the lyrics or melody.

Normally my writing is ****. However, on those certain nights that I'm jacked up on Nyquil and it's like 11:00PM, I'll get this urge to get on guitar pro or something and write some guitar down. And honestly it's the weirdest **** you'd ever hear, like QotSA-esque weird, but it kinda works. Last one I did had an intro that went from 'tropical-sounding' to hard rock to blues rock, and stayed around the blues rock area from thereon. Around that point, I'll fall asleep and by the time I wake up, I can never figure out how to complete the song.
Damn, I'm a Nyquil junkie.
I find its best to write a cool riff down as soon as you play it. Many times I'll come up with a decent one then forget it cause I didn't have it on paper. Then later on I'll put it on Power Tab or Guitar Pro. As for the beat, ask your drummer whats best lol. As for the lyrics ....
guitar pro is (in my opinion) an essential tool for aspiring musicians, I can't go on without it!

I will generally start jamming around on my guitar for either a progression to my liking, or write a little lead part (not really lead more like verse/chorus guitar riff) and write the chorus and verse progressions/riffs before I do anything else. I then work on the intro, then progress from there. I write guitar, second guitar (if any), percussion/drums, vocals, bass, keyboards, etc.
Guitarist of Self Destructus. Continuing Writing. We play technical.progressive Metal as well as Melodic Power Metal.
The way I write songs is I'll stumble upon a chord progression I like and start to hear the melody in my head
In the early days I'd go through a huge folder full of lyrics I had and find which ones fit best with the melody I had come up with
But once that folder ran out I've since started writing lyrics to fit the melody instead
I come up with a riff and if I like it: I decide I want to use it in a song. If I can't think of anything to go with it: I put it in a folder on my computer that's full of other riffs I can't yet do anything with.
That way I can use riffs from that folder in future songs, or even end up making a whole song from my pile of riffs and no riff is ever forgotten... Unless something happens to my computer, in which case I go balistic and have a mental breakdown.
the way it usually happens with me is I'll come up with some little melody or riff or whatever, it'll just be a little fragment, and if I think it has potential it ends up becoming a song. sometimes it might end up being the main riff, or the intro, or even just used at one spot. in fact there've been a few times when my starting idea ended up not even being in the song, it eventually got thrown out or changed so much that it was no longer the same thing.

but I always have one little idea that starts it snowballing.

of course, sometimes I'll end up getting stuck somewhere, and I end up just saving it where I'm at and I'll usually end up coming back to it later with more inspiration, or if I find a good riff but can't turn it into a song I generally throw it in GP and throw it in my riffs folder.

also sometimes when I get stuck on a song if I don't wanta just let it sit there til inspiration strikes I'll start putting in a bass part or a drum part, and by the time I've got that caught up with the guitar parts I normally have some ideas (the drums normally get ignored by my drummer and he does his own thing, I just do it on GP to give myself ideas and fill out the sound so that I get a better idea of how it will sound with real instruments)
I really like guitar pro, but you gotta have your instrument and strum through it too because writing a song only in guitar pro it doesn't capture the "feel" of the instrument. I mean the subtleties of how you strum, dynamics, etc. You gotta do both imo.
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Most of the time if I just play music will come to me or I'll hear riffs going in my head.
If I'm near my record I'll just record the riffs or melody. I don't force writting songs
anymore. I know there's plenty of music that'll come to me.

Then it just a matter of complete the songs with A part , B part, C part progression...etc
Or writing the backing tracks to the melody.

Other times I'll just use whatever progression or movements from books or the net.
Keep it really simple at first. Try out various strumming patterns or picking patterns for the
backing. Try out various drumming patterns.

when I go into acatully recording the song, I have to count all of the drummings
cycles , breaks, rolls ..etc. The drum track is usually the first track I'll lay down.

I might have to re-record a song 2-3 times or more.

A song somtimes will have a life of it's own. I'll stay open to that.
Sometimes I'll even have to change keys to a song.
I try to keep songs in difffernt keys becuase when listening to my music on a
cd as a whole my songs won't sound the same.

I also to arrange songs in certain order becuase of the tempo of a certain songs.
If you have a song with a slightly slower tempo of a faster tempo song.
The songs will sound like it's dragging. So I know I'll have to write 2-3
mellow songs to help break that.

Other times I'll just jam out to a drumming pattern .
Mess around with my guitar processor to get differnt sounds or guitar tones ..etc

If i get really in depth into my recording. I have to take a lot of note on my processor
settings, guitar tone settings volume...etc. This one of the reasons I go line in and not live mic. Sometimes I don't complete a song befor going to the next song.

Sometimes I need to go back and make corrections or change a few lines or notes
here and there. If you had ever recorded a song or master a master mix, you'll notices
tones or volumes dosn't match, if you're not careful.

Sometimes I'll write/record solo parts or riffs hundreds of time trying to fine the perfect
line or phrasing.lol
Last edited by 12notes at Sep 23, 2009,
i generally come up with an idea, improvise my way through the song's entirety about 3 or 4 times, then eventually write down the chords, riff, lyrics etc.
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Quote by mlfarrell
I really like guitar pro, but you gotta have your instrument and strum through it too because writing a song only in guitar pro it doesn't capture the "feel" of the instrument. I mean the subtleties of how you strum, dynamics, etc. You gotta do both imo.

I should have explained it a tad bit better.
I'll start playing something on the guitar itself and gradually build on to the song through Guitar pro.

Most of the times it's some kind of barre chord esque-rhythm, but it works.