Songwriting Techniques: Write, Cut, List And Play!

I haven’t done a blog to date based purely on tips but reading a recent one by Michael Hyatt made me think about the value of a ” list” post. So.. for this week I’ll spare you the  voices in my head and just pass on some things that have worked for me in the past. These are  4 ideas that have become a foundation for my coaching over the last two years and I hope some of them will be helpful for you as a writer . Happy Holidays!

1) Write down what you’re actually planning to write about . No rhyming or editing stuff, just a simple paragraph that you can go back to from time to time to see if you’re  still on course. Really useful when you write alone. Easy to get carried away with a clever line and lose the plot. I heard a great interview with Jeffery Steele a few years back about writing “clever”. He was writing good songs but not getting cuts and Al Anderson set him straight during a co-writing session telling him to write more real and ditch the clever. Wish I could find the interview but  it turned out to be sound advice . Both of these guys know how to write a great song!

2) Cutting and pasting. This sure got easier years ago with word processing programs. Try taking your 3rd verse and moving it to the top sometime. See if you can beat it from there. Chances are you have a better handle on what you’re writing about by the time you’ve gotten there and starting with it can really challenge you. Sometimes telling a story from back to front can be more interesting or the chorus you started with ends up being the first verse and you go from there. Mix it up.

3) Keep all your favorite lines and possible titles in one place and leave it out where you can see it anytime you sit down to write. Doesn’t matter that they’re not connected to each other, one might pop out at you on a particular day. Really helps to jump start you when inspiration is hard to find.

4) Play like a kid. I didn’t invent this one. Artists need the ability to be fearless and create like kids do. No editor, start by having fun.

Any tips, techniques or tricks that work for you?

Image: Ishac Bertran
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