We must admit, the process of writing your own song lyrics is very personal to the writer. Every musician will have a different approach and it will not be a surprise that what works for one lyricist might not necessarily work for another.
While some might write lyrics in minutes others might take weeks or months.
Then, we have compiled some of the best tips to help you write your own song lyrics. Well, not all the tips are rules of thumb, others are just suggestions to help you in your creative endeavor.
Just remember that writing song lyrics is just like any other art form and there is no wrong or the right way to do it.
Consider experimenting with the few tips, tricks, dos, and don’ts that we have highlighted below. Note that the rules can be broken as long as it works for you!
1. Brainstorm: get inspiration
Finding inspiration is often the biggest hurdle whenever you want to write your own song lyrics. While it may seem easy in theory, in most cases, you will find it difficult and frustrating in practice.
You are aware that you can’t force inspiration by sitting down and staring at a blank page.
We advise you to do something that is likely to trigger inspiration. It should be nothing out of the ordinary, just a simple walk, watching a movie, spending time with friends, or listening to other music should do the trick!
However, we would advise you to work quickly and write as many ideas as you can once you’re feeling inspired. Most experienced songwriters describe inspiration to be fleeting, therefore, do your best within this period.
Here are a few nuggets that you should consider when inspired to write;
- Write just about anything. It can be politics, problems, school, euphoria, etc.
- Start scribbling and not worry about doing the “right” thing.
- At this step, you’ll only be collecting ideas and materials, don’t even think to rhyme the lyrics just yet.
- Remember to speak from the heart when you write. Consider the things that you feel strongly about.
- What you have written is not perfect, so, don’t judge or throw away your work. You’ll be perfect as you keep writing.
2. Write your own song lyrics from experience or fantasy
You’ll realize that your inspiration is based on small moments or a snapshot of life.
We would advise you to write your own song lyrics within this setting. With our experience in the music industry, we have been hearing these small moments being mentioned by top writers.
The moment might be in your bedroom at 3 AM, all while driving down the street. Never ignore such moments while writing because these are what place your listeners in the heat of the moment.
Again, don’t try to create lyrics with any specific rhythmic pattern.
3. Listening to other songwriters
Why are you struggling to write your own song lyrics in the first place?
I bet there is that one songwriter who has inspired you to do that. Did you know that you can learn to write just by listening to other professional songwriters?
Well, writing your own song lyrics is not rocket science! It is as simple as learning how to play an instrument by copying or observing the master.
First, start by creating a playlist of songs that you love. Listen keenly to the repetitions, the language, and the message in the chorus.
Ask yourself, what makes the lyrics so powerful? These are the parts that you need to write down and incorporate in your own song lyrics.
Creating a playlist of the songs you don’t like also works wonders. How do you know what you don’t want to incorporate into your lyrics? The answer is simple, by listening to lyrics that you don’t like. In other words, you need to know what to avoid to become a better songwriter.
4. Know your genre
Back to that your favorite songwriter. We believe he or she writes songs using certain rules, right?
Well, songwriting doesn’t have specific rules, but you need to be aware of the genre you intend to write your song.
Are you interested in writing song lyrics for country music? Then, make sure your lyrics are clear and simple. However, the lyrics in rock songs are more metaphorical and complex. In other words, you will have to follow certain rules for every genre you will select.
5. Define the song structure
Some of the biggest hits, like “Wonderwall” by Oasis, often follow a certain song structure: Verse/ Chorus/Verse/ Chorus/ Bridge/ Chorus.
Remember this is just a suggestion rather than the rule of thumb. From our statistics, listeners have a strong preference for songs with this structure. But, that does not mean that you have to use the structure. As long as your song structure provides enough variation to keep your listeners anchored to the song, you are good to go!
To build anticipation, others add a short section known as a “lift” or “pre-chorus” between the verses and the chorus. Your listeners are likely to recognize the verse, pre-chorus, and chorus whenever they come around because each has an identifiable melody.
Listeners will rely on your melody to determine whether they are listening to the chorus, verse, or bridge. So, we will expect you to set your chorus to a higher note range than the verse, or simply change the melodic rhythm patterns.
I guess you are wondering why letting your listeners know which section they’re in is important?
The essence of keeping these sections recognizable is to catch their attention every time you transition into a new section. This keeps them interested in your song.
6. Construct a chorus
Now, we’ve gotten to the most important part of your song, the chorus. The trick here is to write short phrases that express yourself.
You need to let your listener know what you are thinking, feeling and what you intend to say. Ask yourself what you are feeling? Are you sad or happy? Are you feeling warm or cold? Just look for actions and images that can bring your inner self to life.
Start by getting a few chorus and verses written before thinking of how they can alternate. Once you have a verse and chorus written, create a transition between them and make everything flow naturally. To get your chorus running smoothly, you might consider raising or lowering your verse melody.
Note that your chorus melodies could be in a higher note range compared to the verses because they are more emotional.
7. Find a melody
Now, choose one or two of the verses or chords you made up and say them out loud. Remember to say them with lots of emotions, exaggerating the emotion in each line.
If you are keen, you’ll notice the natural rhythm and the sudden change in the melody of your speech.
You have just made your first chorus melody. Now, keep playing with it until it feels comfortable.
You can start with a simple, repeated chord pattern. At this stage, you need to record yourself singing. Keep playing with the chords and melody until you find the melody that you like.
8. Collaborate with good lyricists
Did I mention that you need to listen to other songwriters while writing your own song lyrics to your song? Well, we are taking things up a notch. Other than listening to them, why not just collaborate with them?
This will help you soak up some good lyric writing energy and it will be a matter of time before you realize how good you are at composing.
Collaborating with good lyricists will open up a whole new area for your lyrics and melodies.
You’ll be surprised how lyric rhythms and melodic rhythms are closely linked.
Follow the tips mentioned above and write your own song lyrics. And, if you need more advice to become a real professional songwriter, you can find it in this article!
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With all these in place, we’ll certainly get you Real and Targeted engagement. So, what are you waiting for?
Finish writing and come up with an amazing song. We will be waiting to give you the initial traction that will boost your engagement.