Balancing Truth and Fact

Balancing Truth and Fact

A common struggle among beginner songwriters is the notion that they can only write about experiences that have personally happened to them. Here, we discuss how to walk the fine line between truth and fact when songwriting.

This blog post aims to summarise the second part of our video ‘New to Songwriting? Start here (3 tips)’’. Click here to watch the video for more details, explanations and examples.

Truth vs Fact: What’s The Difference?

Although they sound similar, the reality is that you can actually convey truth without describing all of the facts. As songwriters, our job is not like that of journalists – we don’t have to write the autobiographical truth of things. Instead, our job is to capture the emotions of moments or situations, and this grants us creative license to bend truth if necessary.

For example, referencing the specific details of a pet’s death may diminish the impact of grief in a song. Instead, focusing on the emotional essence of loss can resonate more powerfully with others who have experienced similar emotions.

How to Balance Truth and Fact

There is no easy answer as to how we should go about balancing truth and fact. However, below are some methods that will help you in excluding the details in moments that might result in diminishing the truth behind them.

  1. Sense Writing

In sense writing, you use all of your senses to try and describe a moment you have in your mind. For example, if you wrote about your pet dying, you could write about things like:

  • How did it make your heart/ muscles/ lungs/ skin/ fingers feel?
  • How did your perception of the world change?
  • How did the light alter?

Through using the details of that day, you’ll be able to create a song that is relatable to anyone who has experienced that kind of loss, while also conveying the truth of what happened.

You can find out more about sense writing and other exercises in the free PDF ebook, “The 5 Best Songwriting Exercises for Writing Great Lyrics.” Click the image below to download:

  1. Using a Persona

Writing using a character or a persona might sometimes help us in bringing out core truths that we might not be able to express in our autobiographical selves. Examples of famous songwriters who have used this technique are Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits and Jason Isbell.

A more modern example is the song Bury a Friend by Billie Eilish, as she has previously talked about how the song was written from the perspective of a monster under a bed.

Conclusion: Balancing Truth and Fact

Remember that you shouldn’t be limited to autobiographical facts when writing a song. After all, the old adage “Write what you know” doesn’t just mean “Write the facts you know”. It also means “Write the emotions you know”.

This is only the second of three tips that we have for beginner songwriters. Check out the full article that outlines all 3 tips, or check out the video now.

Turn your inspiration into beautiful songs with step-by-step guidance through two professional songwriting methods. By the end of this course, not only will your tool belt be stocked; you’ll have a plan and a method for finishing your songs – all of them.

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