It’s not a cakewalk to reach deep into the confines of your mind and pull out an expression of yourself, your life, your experience or the greater human experience at large. It’s not easy to find the words to bring together the complex thought patterns happening in your mind at any given time. And doing it to the tune of a song? Let’s face it… the challenge is at the higher end of the scale.
If you’re a songwriter and that’s what you love to do, you can succeed at writing exciting, reflective and creative lyrics. It just takes a lot of practice, and every once in a while, a clever exercise to keep your songwriting muscles sharp.
Here are a few of our favorite approaches to getting those creative juices flowing for writing the perfect set of lyrics:
- Write Along With Your Favorite Artist
So what do we mean by that? We are not telling you to call up Bob Dylan or the Radiohead crew to help you craft your next hit.
Instead, take one of your favorite lyrical songs by one of your favorite lyrical artists, and bring your own twist to it. You could do this by alternatively rewriting every other line of your favorite song, or you could even try writing your own stanza or chorus. The key with this approach is that you are already stimulating the part of your brain attuned to songwriting when you bring your favorite songwriter into the picture. Inevitably this person is someone who greatly influences your own song writing style, so using their work as an exercise to improve your ability to write your own pieces will have great pay offs.
- Write With a Friend
A while ago, at a show, the first two performers both decided to play a song that they wrote “over a text message”. That’s right. Both of these performers had written a song by texting back and forth with a friend, one line for one person and the next for the next. The product was a beautiful bluegrass piece straight out of the heart of the Appalachian mountains.
Utilizing another fellow songwriter’s, or even just a creative friend’s, abilities will help you get your own creative juices flowing. When you hear their ideas and notice the connections they’ve made during the song writing process, you'll begin to internalize their techniques and use them to add to your own.
In addition, having the pressure to write a new lyric in order to text back will force you to write in the first place, which just so happens to be many writers’ first problem.
- Write A Stranger’s Story
This is a fun exercise that you can do almost anytime when you are out in public or even watching a movie or something on television. Rather than entirely relying on your own experiences to produce a great song, try imagining what a stranger you’ve seen on television or on the streets is going through.
This is all just a big thought game. You know nothing about this person, but you can really get your imagination running wild when you try to use little context clues to decide exactly where this person is coming from, what their experiences are and how they feel about their lives.
Using this exercise will help you get out of your own perspective and into the broad human perspective at large. It will expand your ability to dream up new scenarios and personalities for your songs, and this newfound territory in your imagination will show in the lyrics you produce.