Transforming Musicians into Songwriters

The Number 1 Most Common Songwriting Mistake

Don’t feel bad, every songwriter’s made this mistake at some point...starting to write lyrics before you’ve decided on the big picture for your song!
Most Common Songwriting Mistake and How to Stop Making It with Every Song

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Songwriting seems like it should be easy, but it’s more complicated than you expect, this is one reason why…

Don’t feel bad, every songwriter’s made this mistake at some point: starting to write lyrics before you’ve decided on the big picture for your song!

You want to get to the fun part… writing a song, but because songs are deceptively complicated, it’s easy to get stuck.

It’s not songwriter’s block, that’s a myth.

You didn’t plan your song!

Below the video lesson is a summary of the strategies, with bonus ideas and links to other songwriting resources to improve your songwriting!

Most Common Songwriting Mistake: Video Transcript

The number one, most common songwriting mistake is trying to write the final draft first.

Tell me if you’ve done this…

  • You get an awesome idea for a song, a lyric phrase or title.
  • You’re excited because you know this could be an amazing song.
  • So you start writing lyrics, you write the first line and then a second line and another line or two…

But you start to slow down and then you’re stuck

  • What is this song about?
  • Why are these lyrics so bad?
  • Are these rhymes as lame as they sound?

Put your hand up if you’ve done this…  but don’t hang your head in shame because I know you can change it.

The mistake you made is… 

You dove straight into the details instead of figuring out the big picture.

Don’t worry you’re not alone. I used to do it too!

This is why you don’t know what to write about in the second verse.

It’s why you have no idea what to do for the bridge.

This is why you don’t have any story or direction in your song.

It’s why you constantly feel frustrated with your songwriting… wishing you could write the songs you can hear in your head.

Let’s go back to your initial songwriting idea… 

That spark of song inspiration. Write it at the top of a blank page. Don’t write lyrics yet. Brainstorm ideas, just phrases and fragments. Here are some writing prompts, do them in any order…

  1. What else can you think of that might fit somewhere in the song? What images or sensations or phrases might work?
  2. What emotions do you want to evoke in your audience? What’s the emotional journey for your listeners?
  3. What’s the story you want to tell? Write a simple plot for the song, it can be just a few sentences.
  4. What songs that you love could inspire ideas for your song.

No limits or constraints just write ideas as fast as they come. Brainstorming is writing without judging your ideas yet. That’s later.

Now you’ve got a page or more of ideas…

You can plan and focus your songwriting. Writing lyrics will be much easier. You don’t have to start at the first line and write each line afterwards. Then quitting if you get stuck on a line. You can write ideas in any order you think of them and put them in order later.

Like this video if you learned something and check out this playlist for more songwriting videos with tips and advice that actually work. I’m Trevor Dimoff. I transform musicians into songwriters at EpicSongWriting dot com… 

Now go write about your song, before you actually start writing the lyrics. 

End Video Transcript

Most Common Songwriting Mistake: Summary

It’s great when you can drop into the flow and write lyrics… unfortunately, it’s not always easy to do it! There’s an emotional component which makes it unpredictable.

Brainstorming ideas and lyric fragments is easier and more dependable. 

Once you’ve written song ideas, the next step is editing these ideas, finding the best ones and where they fit in the song.

Instead of trying to write from the first line to the end, embrace the chaotic nature of creativity and let ideas flow. Then stop and edit your ideas… to put them where they’ll make the most sense to your listeners.

It’s counter-intuitive but it’s easier to write a first draft and improve it, than to fight and struggle to write a final draft in the first attempt!

Leave a comment to help other songwriters…

What songwriting mistakes have you made and how have you improved your songwriting process?

More Articles to Improve Your Songwriting Process…

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Trevor Dimoff

Trevor Dimoff

Trevor Dimoff has taught, played and written music professionally for the last 25+ years.

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