Posted Mar 16, 2010 09:45 AM
Hey, everyone. I know quite a few people have written articles about songwriting, but I think it helps to have a few different perspectives, so this is how I write songs.
First of all:
I almost always start with the title. Although some people like to do this last, it helps me with ideas. I think it's a good idea for a songwriter to carry around a notebook, or at least a pencil and a piece of paper. This is helpful for thinking up ideas for several reasons. If you're having a conversation with someone, sometimes the most random things can inspire a song, like if your friend accidentally says something that rhymes, or sounds neat, you could use it in a song. But once you have a title, it's easier to think of other ideas. You can create a chorus off the title, and verses off that.
For me, verses seem to flow naturally. I always seem to end up writing several phrases, and not deciding which one is the chorus until the end. In a way, writing a song is kind of like writing an essay in grade school. Although I always hated doing that, you have an introduction, several "body paragraphs," and a conclusion. You also have a chorus.
There are several different techniques you can use if you're having writer's block. Some people like to step back from the song; leave it on your desk for a day, and come back to it the next day with fresh ideas. However, there is something I've done that has always worked.
Whenever I can't think of the next line to a song, I stop writing the lyrics and compose a quick melody. It doesn't have to be the melody you're going to use in the end, just some chords you know well. I play guitar, and I typically use A, G, and E because those were the first chords I learned, and I can play them without thinking about it (I'm still a beginner at guitar). Then, while strumming those chords, start singing the song.
Don't worry about melody or it sounding good; no one can hear you. This could just be me, but when I'm not thinking about the lyrics, and just singing, sometimes lyrics just come to my head. When I'm playing music to go along with the song, I can come up with lyrics I normally wouldn't have been able to think of.
I hope this has been of help to some people. And, people who read this and don't like it, please don't write needless reviews about how awful it was. I am aware that this won't help all people. Songwriting is a personal thing, and what helps one person might not help another. So I hope this helped you somewhat.