#1
I've been having Writer's Block... for the past 7 years...

I've been playing guitar since then, and along the way I have picked up other instruments, such as the drums, keyboard, banjo, bass, as well as singing. But, since I've started, I have never actually written a full fledged song, but more like a hodgepodge of recordings featuring instrumental noodling.

I've read tons and tons of books and websites (Including this) describing how to write a song, giving me a process as to how to come up with something, but I don't seem to have anything inside of me that's worth expressing in the form of music.

On top of that, I despise writing lyrics/poetry/stories/etc.

Instrumentals are good and all, and some of my favorite bands (Russian Circles, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Giraffes? Giraffes!, The String Cheese Incident, etc.) produce mostly instrumental pieces... it's just that I'd love to write a song with lyrics and give it meaning other than what the instruments are playing. Sure, I could write a post-rock piece, or an experimental thing- but I have no desire to do that.

I was just wondering if there were any suggestions for me? I've been going at this for years, and nothing to show for it. I even allotted myself time each week where I would just sit down and try to pound something out, but nothing. I just feel pathetic every time I play knowing that, sure, I'm heck of a lot better than I was when I started: Learned a good deal of theory, know handfuls of scales, can solo, sweep, tap, have a nice knowledge of chords, etc. - but not a single song to my name.

EDIT: I might as well list a few of my favorite bands, just to give you guys an idea of what type of songwriting styles I like:

Thrice (Everything after Vheissu)
Modest Mouse (Mostly their old stuff, but their new stuff is decent)
Death Cab For Cutie
Postal Service
Jeff Buckley
Cat Stevens
Protest the Hero (Kezia > Fortress by a long shot)
The Human Abstract (Just Nocturne)
Say Anything
Opeth
Incubus
Portishead
Rush
Streetlight Manifesto
Béla Fleck
Maps & Atlases
Andrew Bird
All That Remains
Battles
maudlin of the Well

And the list can go on forever...
Last edited by Oh, hello. at Sep 30, 2009,
#2
Listen to your fav bands that have lyrics search the lyrics up and choose the best lyrics then start of with a line of the lyrics you just searched up, xD
#3
try to give some advice, Or be vauge, or nonsensicle. sometimes a song doesn't even have to be about anything. sometimes a song with 4 lines is deep as an ocean.
no sir away a papaya war is on
#4
I've got the same problem.
I worked out that if you improvise lyrics to some instrumental stuff it kinda works, and then progressing from there. I've only just started doing it and it seems to help. I hope it helps you.
Oh, and bring paper and pen :P
#5
You're at the point where you just gotta do it. Once you have read all the tips articles and websites, there's really no more concrete advice to be given. I couldn't give you advice half as good regarding lyrics as what is in that lyrics tips thread.

You just need to sit down and let it flow out of you. I imagine that after the first one, it will be easier for you. So write about something pointless, something stupid. Just do it so you can get the experience of actually writing. Write a song about peeling an orange. Write a song about walking upstairs, about guacamole, about parking a car. About anything. But it seems like in your case it's just a matter of being able to get the words on the paper. The first thing you write doesn't have to, and is never going to be, a masterpiece. Neither will the second...or the third...

The key phrase you use is "pound something out". This is where your problem lies. You are probably sitting down and saying "Okay, now I wll write a song" and you are staring at a blank sheet of paper and racking your brains trying to think of something. This is wrong, completely wrong. Never, at least starting out, sit down specifically without any inspiration beforehand and say "okay, now I'm going to write." It doesn't work that way. Get an idea in your head and think about it, let it brew for a couple of days, sit on it and develop in your head, THEN when you sit down to write it, you can let it all flow out onto the paper.


Also, it's a matter of putting the pen to the paper without fully knowing exactly what words you are going to write yet. It's just the simple fact that you have to do it.

Nike, man. Nike.

Today I feel electric grey
I hope tomorrow, neon black
#6
Quote by Ganoosh
Get an idea in your head and think about it, let it brew for a couple of days, sit on it and develop in your head
Thats what I do all the time. Infact, its rarely a sitting down and writing, I just kind of gradually think of more cool riffs?

Just bite your tung (lol?) and do it, there really isn't much more than that. Also, have you learned some songs too?
"If you're looking for me,
you better check under the sea,
because that's where you'll find me..."
#7
Action > all.

Here's something that should help you.. helped me alot.

You say there's nothing in you to express? That's complete BS.

Unstifle yourself.

Literally, stand up, and scream stupid shtuff. Remove the filter from your brain, make yourself laugh, do all kinds of stupidity to get yourself in a more carefree state. (actually amusing yourself all the time is a good practice.. you'll always feel awesome)

I find writing is an intuitive process, you can't think your way into a song, you just have to trust yourself to deliver the goods. Ganoosh's advice was very good.

Write, write, write.
BOLD.
Last edited by maddd0g at Oct 2, 2009,
#8
I disagree with brewing for days I think as soon as you have a good idea you should write it down or you risk losing the perfect moment of inspiration due to poor memory.
#9
if you dislike writing lyrics & ****, well, then what can you do? i suggest you first start writing a diary or something. not paying attention to music or a set rhythm, just working on getting your thoughts down on paper and expressing yourself. write about what you know: your experiences. smoking a cigarette outside your bedroom window reflecting on life; drinking until you pass out attempting to forget a girl who left you for a guy who later became your best friend; falling in love with a girl who loves you, but has a boyfriend somewhere in the other side of the planet. idk, these are things ive written about. just anything thats happening in your life. even if you think theres nothing exciting you can write about, you can write about that! you need to become comfortable writing. school essays, homeworks, writing assigments. those are all opportunities to get used to expressing your ideas. after that, you can start taking into account technical aspects such as meter, assonance, rhythm, etc. these will make putting your writings to music an easier task. it's really all about practicing writing. the more you are used to writing, the easier it will be and the better you will become. anyway, thats what i would do. listen to what everyone says though, everyone has different ideas when it comes to this and they can all help. hope i did. cheers brah.
#10
Well... I took some of you guys' advice, and started this little project where I'd post a photo and a song/musical idea a day. From going to almost nothing to everyday is crazy- but it has helped!!! I just do whatever, record it, and then put it up. I've even collaborated with people in my area to make some tracks:. So here's my official website, along with links to other music websites and places where you can download everything:

Click to Visit
Official Website for Green Dawn
#11
Green Dawn looks like an interesting website. I agree with Ganoosh. Just start writing anything. The words will come a tumblin.

I started carrying a notebook (like the spiral kind you use in school, they are cheap. I have the reassurance that Cobain did the same...) and everytime I read something interesting, something where two or three words are written poetically (i.e. rhyming, alliteration, interior vowel similarity, whatever) or where the concept is something I think I might like to play around with I write it down, then go back to it. I have a personal idea that I will go back to my musings within a day or two, so the idea of why that was interesting is still fresh enough to recall. If I need to I write down rhyme words, or ideas of where to go with the words I write it with the word ideas. Example: Some of my yesterdays words/musings:

deepening incompleteness

demeaning manipulation

signals registering our subconscious

exploded notions

locked in my house like Sleeping Beauty

priority speed greed multiplicity

purchase security


Now the bigger question is what to do with some of these ideas? I just let them percolate around for a while, mess with them write down different arrangements of structure, etc. Then just go.

I am finding that I have a more acute sense of the sound and shape of words and what musical sounds/shapes/structures would integrate with those words to push the idea forward, since I starting jotting everything down.

I would love to hear how you are doing.
#12
Also, my mantra is that you have to be bad before you can be good (or great). I listened to steel dragons. Musically better, vocals, pleez. They are a definite weak area!
#13
Quote by miumiu
Also, my mantra is that you have to be bad before you can be good (or great). I listened to steel dragons. Musically better, vocals, pleez. They are a definite weak area!

Hahah, that was just a joke track. I'd listen to The Daisies, Birth, Mulligan's (One & Two), or James Dean for a better representation of my shtuff. Nothing I've recorded has been focused on amazingness, but rather just the fact that there's some musical idea I have.

You can stream & download from my ReverbNation profile:


Quote by miumiu
Green Dawn looks like an interesting website. I agree with Ganoosh. Just start writing anything. The words will come a tumblin.

I started carrying a notebook (like the spiral kind you use in school, they are cheap. I have the reassurance that Cobain did the same...) and everytime I read something interesting, something where two or three words are written poetically (i.e. rhyming, alliteration, interior vowel similarity, whatever) or where the concept is something I think I might like to play around with I write it down, then go back to it. I have a personal idea that I will go back to my musings within a day or two, so the idea of why that was interesting is still fresh enough to recall. If I need to I write down rhyme words, or ideas of where to go with the words I write it with the word ideas. Example: Some of my yesterdays words/musings:

deepening incompleteness

demeaning manipulation

signals registering our subconscious

exploded notions

locked in my house like Sleeping Beauty

priority speed greed multiplicity

purchase security


Now the bigger question is what to do with some of these ideas? I just let them percolate around for a while, mess with them write down different arrangements of structure, etc. Then just go.

I am finding that I have a more acute sense of the sound and shape of words and what musical sounds/shapes/structures would integrate with those words to push the idea forward, since I starting jotting everything down.

I would love to hear how you are doing.
I'm not doing too well on the lyrical front.. as I'm just recording mainly instrumentals with an occasional inclusion of my voice more as an instrument rather than singing anything. I have been keeping pieces of paper with me, but I usually write down musical ideas instead of words. I hope this project will eventually push me to explore lyrics and singing, and do what you're doing.
Last edited by Oh, hello. at Nov 6, 2009,
#14
best advice i can give, and i think you have the ability since a lot of your favorite bands up there have lyrics worth hearing, first off, start out writing prose/free-verse poetry, write about things and themes that are important to you. love is always a big one, especially with people just starting out. are you in love with someone? write about it. do they love you back? write about it. do you not love anyone and don't want to? write about it. remember to utilize metaphor, allegory, and abstract language so as to have it feel more universal. finding themes you like and sympathize with regularly will really help you have something to write about. i write like a poem a day and it always centers on lost love, existential angst or naturalism/mysticism, or possibly a mixture of those, but i never have a problem deciding what to write about, just how to write about it, which leads to my next tip, be original. the idea that you'll ever find something to write about that hasn't been written about before is ridiculous. it's been done, what distinguishes someone like isaac brock when he sings about adolescent anger or suburban melancholy is that he says it like no one else does. consider concepts and ideas that aren't often heard of. think about what you write, have you heard it a million times before? if you have then get rid of it, because if i read your lyrics and i feel like i've read them before why should i continue reading, i've already seen it done, why would i want to waste my time seeing it again? after you've got yourself all set content-wise then begin to let your rhythm and flow develop organically. a good idea is to try to avoid the mother goose/ abab rhyme scheme like the plague, it always forces awkward phrasing and reads pretty stupid. i guess that's a basic enough guide for how i developed any skill writing. hope it helps and good luck.