The process of writing lyrics, perhaps more than any other discipline in music, is very personal to the writer. They all have a different approach, and what will work well for one lyricist will not necessarily work for another. Some people can write an entire song in five minutes, for some people it can take months.
However, no matter how you write, and whatever your style, we’ve put together some tips that we hope will be helpful. Some of them are general rules; Others are ideas to help you get out of any creative routine.
The main thing to remember is that, as with any other form of art, there is no right or wrong way to do it. Experiment with the tips, tricks, what to do and what not to do below, but remember that in this case, the rules can sometimes be broken.
Like any other creative process, like playing the guitar or programming synth sounds, letter writing is a skill that can be learned and improved.
2. Don’t be discouraged
Don’t be discouraged if your lyrics aren’t perfect in the first draft. Many professional writers will rewrite the lyrics of a song dozens of times before it is recorded.
Most of the time, songs are not born, they are created and sculpted. Don’t expect a song to come fully formed; sometimes they take time and you will have to work on it.
4. Keep going
If you can’t figure out how to say what you want within a particular line, write down the essence and continue with another part of the song; you can come back to it later. That way, you won’t spend hours struggling with a small line that might turn out to be insignificant in the larger context of the song.
5. Elevator pitch
Try to get a clear idea of what the song is about. You should be able to summarize the essence of the song in one sentence.
6. Analyze other songs
Try to choose the differences in the lyrics between your favorite songs and yours, and apply any lyrical technique you learn to your own work.
7. Structural works.
Make sure the song has a clear structure and progression. This is particularly important in narrative songs (songs that tell a story). A quick test is to read the finished song from start to finish, wondering “does it make sense?”
8. Use context
Adding a back story to explain the situation (for example) can add interest and can change the full meaning of any letter that follows it.
9. Use perspective
For example, a classic composition trick is to describe an event in the first verse and add perspective by describing how it affected or made you feel in the second verse. Another point of view can give an interesting turn to a direct point.
10. The choirs are from Venus, the verses are from Mars
Choirs require a different approach from verses, especially if you are writing pop. They often need to be “simpler” and easier to remember. A common trick is to write the ‘settings’ during the verse and the emotional ‘reward’ in the chorus.
Experiment with rhythm within a line. A line can have its own bounce or rhythmic style and still fit within the general rhyme scheme.
12. Use light and shade
Contrasting the happy and positive with the sad and depressing within a song can be very powerful. Context is everything: a light-hearted chorus after a more solemn verse can make the chorus even more inspiring.
Don’t use an excess of adjectives or descriptive words. While they are clearly essential for a composer, adding too many can make a lyrics less concise.
14. Don’t be afraid of images
Don’t feel that using images will make your letters too artistic or flowery. If used well, it can evoke emotions or moods that cannot be created using just a forceful description.
15. Be careful with the summary
Be careful when using the emotional summary, for example when saying things like “I want to feel free.” Complex emotions are often difficult to describe; sometimes it is more effective to use images (see tip 14) or context (see tip 8) to convey an emotion rather than simply express it.
16. Experiment with time
It can be interesting to write about the past, the present and the future, sometimes all within the same song.
17. Be clear
Remember that listeners can lose a word, a line, or three. Don’t rely on a single small line to put the entire song in context.
18. Experiment with attitude
Songs can be humble, arrogant, hopeful, gloomy, aggressive, and more. Creative droughts can often be tackled by radically changing the perspective of your lyrics. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be yourself, but a little experimentation won’t hurt.
19. Experiment with pronouns
Songs don’t always have to be written using ‘you’ or ‘me’. Lyrics with plural pronouns like ‘we’ and ‘they’, for example, can give a song a very different feel. However, avoid using many different pronouns in the same song, as this can be confusing.
20. Don’t use too many words
Pressing a line full of words where they clearly don’t fit can make each word lose its impact; It’s usually wiser to rewrite the line completely rather than trying to play Literary Tetris.
21. Be aware of the “sounds” of the words.
Words have an inherent sound that becomes even more pronounced when chanted rather than spoken. Some words sound sharp, some heavy, others open, others forceful, some come off the tongue. Consider the sound and meaning of the word when writing.
22. Be cautious when using “clever” or overly elaborate language
These words often look good on paper, but they usually don’t translate well into songs. It also risks alienating listeners who don’t know what a word means.
23. Consider the rhyme scheme, if there is one
It is important to remember that how ‘catchy’ your song is not just a product of the music and the melody; It also comes from the lyrics, especially from the rhythm and rhyme scheme.
24. Avoid stuffing!
If possible, avoid writing padding lines to make rhymes work. It’s okay to use padding when mapping the song structure, but you should use any subsequent rewrites to try to make each line count in its own right.