11 Songwriting Tips To Help You Write Better Lyrics
You write everyday, but you don’t seem to get any sense out of what you’re creating.
You want to write amazing lyrics that paint a clear picture of what you’re visioning in your imagination but you don’t know where to start.
We all have felt this frustration.
Below are eleven songwriting tips to assist you in your lyric writing journey.
Read and enjoy the post!
Write better lyrics with these 11 songwriting tips
11. Set a limit
Set a time limit for your writing process and put yourself under pressure.
Sometimes we get caught up on a phrase or a rhyme rather than going with the flow.
Now I don’t mean task yourself to complete a hit song in under an hour from start to finish, unless you really want to of course.
Just remember, your first draft doesn’t have to be perfect, it is after all just a draft.
10. Form a rhyming database
Form your own rhyming couplets database.
Similar to guitarists having a database of riffs; yours will be rhymes, hooks and phrases.
If you get stuck during the writing process you can look to your database and pick out some phrases you’ve collected earlier for inspiration or to use in the current song.
9. Map out an emotional progression
Rather than start with words, start with emotions.
Map out the emotional impact during the song; beginning, middle and end, and design your song accordingly. This can be done during the lyrical and production side of a song.
If your story starts off hectic, then has a shocking twist but ends on a high note, structure your song around this.
Take your listeners on an emotional journey and keep them engaged with the story.
8. What are your songs expectations?
Decipher your songs expectations. What are you trying to achieve from the song?
Will you be explaining the emotions felt and its impact on your life? Or painting a picture of the surroundings during this event?
List out related words, sounds, emotions, activities that may relate to the story of your song and use them in your lyrics.
7. Form a story database
Form your own mini story database. It can be as simple as ‘taking your dog for a walk and enjoying the sunshine.’
You don’t have to write hundreds of essays and have all the fine details. Just think of it as writing blurbs for a book or movie. Write enough information to spark interest.
When you’re feeling creative pick one of these stories and expand on them.
6. Get into the right mindset
Try getting into the mindset of the person you’re creating in your song.
What would they do? Why would they do that? How would they react or feel?
This makes the song more authentic.
Struggling to start a new set of lyrics? Can’t think of a storyline, or have no direction but the creativity inside you is bursting?
You could always practice your songwriting techniques by rewriting other people’s work.
Pick a song you’re fond of, and rewrite it. You can spice it up by altering the main emotion it’s focused on, or perhaps reversing the perspective.
4. Split your songs into sections
Similar to tip 9, rather than focus on the progression of emotion, instead create a movie in your head and split each scene of the movie into a part of a song.
Your song will show your movies progression, keeping the listener engaged with the story.
If the movie has a lot of detail, you could split it into several songs as an EP, therefore you have a concept EP.
3. Repeat catchy lyrical phrases
Repeat pivotal lyrical phrases throughout the song, it will act as your hook. Remember your hook has to make sense.
A hook is a short memorable phrase but also can be a riff or even a sound that is constantly reiterated during the song as it is important to the storyline.
However if it’s catchy but has no relevance to the story and isn’t elaborated on then it’s kind of pointless.
2. More description in your verses
Pack more description into the verses.
You want your chorus to only elaborate on the pivotal part of the story, reminding the listener of it hence why they are repeated.
Each verse should act as a funnel, adding a new piece of information to the story.
This could be a new problem, a new thought or an expansion on the problem/thought in the first verse.
1. Ad libs
Don’t underestimate the power of using ad libs to fill the melodic spectrum when creating your songs.
Ad libs enhance the emotion and narrative of the story you’re telling, and usually occur during the final chorus.
Pick one or two of the most important phrases of the chorus and see how it feels emphasising these phrases, perhaps with a harmony over the main chorus or just belted an octave higher.
It’s your turn
So now it’s your turn to test out these lyric writing tips and see what results you can achieve.
Next time you’re feeling stuck in a rut and you’re not making progress, refer to these tips and implement them into your creative regime.
You’ll find you write more structured and are able to portray your story more coherently.
Good luck, and get creating!