How to Write a Song – Creating Lyrics
Crafting compelling song lyrics is an art that can make the difference between your song being memorable and relatable, or not. In this blog post, we will explore the process of finding inspiration and developing captivating song lyrics.
This blog post aims to summarise the second part of our video ‘5 Simple Steps to Write Your First Song’. Click here to watch the video for more details, explanations and examples.
So, let’s dive into the process, and learn how to make lyrics that speak not only to you, but also to your audience.
What Should I Write About?
When it comes to songwriting, the possibilities of what to write are endless. A good song can be about anything that you relate to emotionally. To aid yourself in choosing the subject of your song, ask yourself the following questions:
- What do you want to get off your chest?
- What annoys you?
- What are you worried about?
- What do you wish was different?
- What do you want that you don’t have?
- What do you want to say to someone you haven’t said yet?
By delving into these questions, you can uncover personal experiences, desires, and messages that form the basis of powerful song lyrics.
Another effective approach to songwriting is to create songs that express joy, delight, wonder, and awe. Whilst songs with frustrations and moody undertones can be intriguing, songs of celebration are a practice as old as time, and is something that many people can relate to.
If you’d like some exercises to help you with your lyric writing, then click below to get instant access to the free PDF ebook “The 5 Best Songwriting Exercises for Writing Great Lyrics.”
4 Tips for Effective Lyric Writing
To help your lyrics connect more deeply with your audience, consider the following tips:
- Write in direct address: Craft your lyrics as if you are directly addressing someone else. This approach establishes a relationship-based connection with your audience, making your song more emotional and appealing.
Example Song: “Hey There Delilah” by Plain White T’s
Through direct address, the songwriter engages with Delilah, captivating the listener by immersing them in a heartfelt story of longing and distance.
- Start with the present tense: Begin your lyrics in the present tense to create immediacy and draw the listener into the moment. This adds a sense of emotional urgency and heightens the impact of your song.
Example Song: “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston
Starting with the present tense in the first line, Whitney Houston instantly immerses the listener in the intense emotions of love and commitment, making the experience feel current and deeply personal.
- Establish problem or conflict early on: Clearly define the problem, tension, or conflict that drives your song within the first two lines. This approach sets the stage for a compelling narrative and engages listeners from the beginning.
Example Song: “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye ft. Kimbra
Right from the opening lines, the song establishes the conflict between two individuals drifting apart, captivating the listener with its emotional intensity and relatability.
- Stick to one central theme: Ensure that your song maintains a singular focus throughout its duration. Avoid addressing multiple themes or big topics within a single song. Keeping your lyrics centered on one idea creates clarity and impact.
Example Song: “Imagine” by John Lennon
With its timeless and thought-provoking lyrics, “Imagine” revolves around a central theme of envisioning a better world, inspiring listeners to reflect on universal ideals of peace and unity.
And as a bonus tip for you, be sure to try and find your song title early.
While a song doesn’t need to start with the title, actively searching for a title from the beginning of the writing process can anchor the song and help define its subject. A powerful title can capture the core idea of a song and guide the direction of your lyrics.
Choosing Your Song Title
Although it can be difficult to choose a song title, there are some effective ways to help you generate potential song titles. Consider these methods:
- Incorporate imagery: Titles containing vivid imagery can be powerful and evocative, capturing the listener’s attention. A great example is the song “Diamonds” by Rihanna. The word diamond instantly brings the image of shiny jewels to the listener, and helps guide their expectations on the song’s metaphor.
- Brainstorming: Just write down any words or phrases that come to your mind when you think of the topic.
- Free writing on your theme or topic: Write down scenes, moments, memories, or events that capture the essence of your song idea. Try to structure your free writing in a song map so that you can organise your song ideas more effectively.
Above all, remember to keep it concise, as great titles are often six words or less, inherently memorable or interesting.
Conclusion: How to Write a Song – Creating Lyrics
Crafting captivating song lyrics is an art that requires introspection, creativity, and the ability to connect emotionally with your audience.
By incorporating the tips we’ve mentioned above and creating a regular writing routine for yourself, you can elevate your songwriting skills. Remember to strive to find your song title early on to anchor your lyrics and give your songwriting direction. So, grab your writing tools and get cracking on the lyrics to your next song!
Turn your inspiration into beautiful songs with step-by-step guidance through two professional songwriting methods