I had to write up a flow diagram the other day for the process I need to follow to get a song/lyric from idea to completion. You might find it useful;

1./ You are walking down the street thinking about nothing in particular. One thought leads to another and suddenly you are struck by what seems to be a great idea. A concept arrives waiting to be fleshed out. This is often called ‘ The Muse’. Any bit of inspiration or muse that passes by is worthy of pursuing. It might come from your walk down the street or it might come from an exercise such as object writing. Object writing is the process of writing from your senses about a particular object/thing/person/place or time. Have a look at the site Objectwriting.com for some ideas on what to do.

2./ If your great idea has not come from object writing then you need to do some; Find a quiet place to set yourself up with pen and notepad, or word processor if you’re computer inclined. Set a stopwatch or timer, most mobile phones have one these days, and write for 10 minutes on your subject. For example this afternoon I came up with the concept of “losing altitude” .This could be about a relationship running out of steam or taking a dip or going through a period of turbulence, so, the challenge is to take metaphors related to the concept and make them into useable phrases for our song. Here’s some example writing;

Losing altitude, we’re dropping down, my tummy is left up in the sky somewhere. Losing altitude, who’s in control of this plane? I’ve got my hand on the controls, but you keep wrestling them away. While we’re wrestling the plane is going into a dive and we’re losing altitude. The ground is spinning up to meet us, I want to jump out of this plane and be free wheeling on a parachute, pulling my own cords, not be your puppet on a string. etc.

Usually you can find a few choice phrases from your stream of consciousness sense based writing that can be valuable to expand on, which is part 3.

3./ Pick key words or themes from your main idea and find rhymes. I am a great fan of the methods of Pat Pattison of Berklee Music college. In his book Writing Better Lyrics Pat advocates that we not just look for perfect rhymes, but also family rhymes, assonant rhymes and near rhymes. So, from our example we might look at the words altitude, dropping, sky, control, plane, dive, losing, spinning, parachute and cords, to find a database of rhymes we can use.

For “altitude” you might try: solitude, latitude, attitude, unscrewed, voodooed, argued, stewed, mood and feud. Now any of those combinations can open up a world of possibilities,but if you stick ‘on theme’ you might get a coupe of rhyming lines like;

Hey, I know we argued
and you’re in a terrible mood
and I’m reaching for my parachute, ‘cos ,
baby we’re losing altitude.

not the greatest prose in the world but a starting point. What about dive? Drive, test-drive, arrive, survive, alive, real-life, jaws of life.

We’re in a nose dive
this isn’t a test-drive
if we’re gonna survive
somebody’s gonna have to go and get the jaws of life.

4./ Once you’ve got a few more ideas flowing try to story board your song and work out if there is a narrative flow. What will each part of the song say? To carry on the example, part one could be; boy and girl are going on holiday, they are flying and he thinks that there are problems in the relationship. Part 2 could be the woman’s perspective, what she thinks is wrong. Part 3, a bridge, might be them playing out disaster scenarios, and a final verse might be a happy ending as they are coming in to land at their destination, losing altitude, but in a controlled way. Could this journey be a plan to rekindle the romance?

5./ Rewrite the main idea using new lyrical/rhyming ideas within the story board

6./ If you’re stuck for a rhythmic idea try to extract it from the working title of the song- Our working title of “losing altitude” could be broken up to represent he following; Loo-zing-al-ti-tude or, ta Tum ta ta Tum. Try ta Tum ta ta Tum at different speeds to see what matches the ‘feel’ of the song.

7./ Start speaking out loud some of your rough prose and rhyme to see how it might fit against the rhythm and start trying out melodic ideas

8./Hit the ‘record’ button on your tape recorder or computer and get writing, and rewrite, rewrite, rewrite, until you’re done!
Good article. However, I've always felt that the creative process isn't one that can be put into a 1-2-3 kind of format. Not to say that such advise can't be used as a base, but I've always found that inspiration comes when it's least expected, and almost never in the same way, or from the same source.

Techniques such as rhyme scheme and other poetic ‘rules’ can be helpful and important, however these ‘rules’ are still limited by a writer’s ability. That is to say that, though a writer may have memorized his textbook, he may still be unable to write something effective or powerful because he lacks the ability to convert his thoughts and emotions into words and to place them in a way that conveys what he feels.

I also believe that what a writer says is not nearly as important as how he says it. The primary focus when writing a poem or song should not be so much on the story-line or theme, but on the words; the way they flow, and what they convey beyond their literal meaning. It’s important to feel the words, not just hear them.

Anyway, you’ve got some good advice and I think it could be helpful at times, but I think it’s also important to realize that there is a lot more to writing that just a few techniques or ‘tricks.’ It’s deeper than that.
I agree that creativity is not easily pigeon-holed- I suppose the main thing I am saying- after 25 years of writing songs, but not knowing how it was happening, is that I have found a way to break it down into useable steps. We all know how daunting the blank canvass can be, and when we're in a creative [usually not alchoholic] dry spell, it's tough to get the creative juices flowing.

I have formerly written petty much- stream of consciousness- songs- You know "it was going past and I just hopped on board "thank you Lord". I think I have come to realise that you need to do a bt more 'work' than just relying on that sort of thing occuring.

Identifying the things that I have done 'right' for the last twenty five years and having a method I can use has given me a whole new lease on the writing thing...I'm like a kid in a candy shop at the moment, especially with the Object Writing. Doing the daily 10 minute exercise is helping me to 'get to the heart' of what it is I want to say quickly, in a way that really gets the feeling/concept across. If anybody wants to have a listen to some of my tunes of old go to myhomerecordingstudio.com, there's some stuff you can stream + new lyrics and song ideas.
The whole lesson is OK . It can be inspiring for some but it lacks one important message


If u want to write a good song . Start writing it instead of looking for tips on internet
I think the best way to write a song is to write it about something you've been through, write about a past experience. If you write that way, then you know what you're talking about and you can relate to other people.
Writing A Song Off The Top Of Your Head Is All Well And Good But Even If It Sounds Good With Music It Doesn't Really Have Meaning. I Reckon It's Best To Write About Something That You Or Someone Close To You Knows About Or Has Experienced And Alot Of People Say This Is A Good Technique For Song-Writing. Other's Say This Is The Common Way To Do It And Not Very Innovative But At The End Of The Day It's What Feels Right For You At The Time And Whether Or Not It Sounds Good To YOU.

I Went To This Acoustic Gig The Other Week, Kate Walsh It Was, And Before She Would Play A Song She'd Tell A Story And What Motivated Her To Write It. And I Enjoyed It More Because Of This.
Feelin' SUPERdamnfabulous
I don't think songs must make sense to be good. I also think that lyrics that are a little obscure can make a song better in that it can make the song a little more intresting so some one else can put themselves in your place to try to workout what was ment by it, and what differance does it make if a song has meaning some songs mean absolutley nothing but are still widely regarded as good songs.

Finally I agree that it's what ever works for you when it come to writing but, it's all well and good writing about past experience but why not try writting about something you have never experienced by putting yourself in someone elses shoes to see what you think you would feel and how your views would change, because songs don't necessarily have to be true, just to add a differant perspective
this helped me but on thing set aside write from your heart to show that it cares depending on the mood of your song you should feel the sameway wverytime you hear it but everyone needs to stop liiking for tips and just freewirte!!!!!!