Writing Lyrics

Just my personal method of writing lyrics that works for me, and I hope it will for you too if you'd like another perspective on the subject.

Ultimate Guitar
I find that lyrics are often a very important part of a song. They may not be absolutely crucial, but they can elevate a decent song to an excellent one by presenting the listener with images or phrases that strike the mind and the heart. A band who do this excellently is Jawbreaker; Blake Schwarzenbach's lyrics are frequently peppered with images and strong emotion recall. My own personal method involves a few simple things that I find aid my lyric writing exponentially. Write All The Time. This is key; just write, and write, and write. Any time you feel like it, write something. I find that doing this late at night is especially productive, as your subconscious is more active in the twilight hours, thus potentially creating more interesting imagery and metaphor. This will generate a large body of work which you can pare down into more concise pieces, that is to say, your songs. Don't Worry About Rhyming. Really, you shouldn't make finding a rhyme scheme the be-all and end-all of writing. If you can do so and still convey the images and emotion in the lyrics, then great. But don't force your lyrics into a rhyming pattern for the sake of it. Look at these great Jawbreaker lyrics from the song 'Ache': "I believe in desperate acts. The kind that make me look stupid. (Look like a fool) Just keep reinventing myself. It's move or die. (I change my form) These days the people I love are spread so far apart." Schwarzenbach's lyrics do not neatly ascribe to a rhyme pattern, yet retain an undeniable emotional punch and clarity. I hope that this lesson is useful, I speak only from personal experience and wish to pass on techniques that I find effective. I hope that they are of use to you.

9 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Danny Fitz
    Ive write a few songs in the past year and only a few have been successful. Reason being I find it hard NOT to rhyme so as soon as I get stuck on a word to rhyme with something I give in!!!!!
    I know what you mean about writing at night; when I lay in bed I can't stop coming up with lyrics so the wall beside my bed is full of lines
    Zakk Wylde Jnr
    when i write they sound good as acapella but with music with it, it sounds like a crap pop song
    Lee Medd
    ive only writen lyrics for one song and i did at night like you said but i dont think its particulaly good
    I have played guitar for a long tim, and im not good at making lyrics. I think i dont have imagination..... But i take your idea of writing all the time.
    U r true... As I too write songs, I find it very satisfying to produce lyrics at night...