Song is Haiku
How to Fix Stuck Songs
Have you ever had any of these problems?
- Can’t explain your own song in a sentence
- Can’t fit everything into the song
- Have too many verses
- Lyrics hard to sing, too many words
- Lyrics hard to memorize
- Can’t finish the story
- Still have more to say
(I’ve had them too)
Here’s how to fix stuck songs….
The common thread is too much in the song!
A song is a brief glimpse into a world you have created. It’s not a novel, it’s not a poem… it’s Haiku.
Carve your syllables
Images inspire visions
Sing a world with words
(All Haiku in this article © Trevor Dimoff, 2017)
A Japanese poetry form. In English it is usually translated as a 3 line poem with 5-7-5 syllables. (Links for further reading below)
The most remarkable thing about the Haiku that I have read (usually translated from Japanese into English) is with a minimum of words each creates an image that echoes in your mind after reading it. You add details to the poet’s vision that makes it meaningful to you.
Haiku creates a world bigger than its words.
Just like a song, there isn’t time for extras….
So words, sounds, images
Evoke your intent
You Spin Me Round
© Trevor Dimoff and Sharon Vennall, 2016
Big Idea: You love changed my world…
Each of the phrases is an image contributing to the bigger picture.
Head in the sky, Feet off the ground.
Learning to fly… You spin me round!
Out of my mind, Lost and then found.
Give sight to the blind… You spin me round!
I Just Want to Teach
© Trevor Dimoff, 2016
In writing a song that described the conflict during a Labour dispute between the Nova Scotia Teachers Union and the Nova Scotia Liberal Government. Instead of citing numerous problems and getting buried in details, I distilled my big idea down for the song to a “teacher’s demand for a sustainable education system.”
It isn’t much to ask, as a teacher I expect:
Cost of living raise, treat me with respect.
Can’t improve my classroom with PR campaigns.
In my professional opinion: you haven’t made the grade!
Education minister, your attention please:
I Just Want to Teach! I Just Want to Teach!
Fixing Your Songs:
Solutions & Action Steps
1. Write Regularly
Yes, I think this is a solution for almost every problem… get to work!
2. Create a Link Between Writing Sessions
As you finish your work for the day, write down what/where to start with the next time… you can quickly drop into the flow whenever you sit down to write.
3. Write from your Title (The Big Idea)
Every lyric/word/phrase supports the big idea… if it doesn’t change it, delete it, reword it… edit, edit, edit!
4. Outline your song (before you get stuck)
Get into the habit of thinking about the entire song.
Write down what you want to express and how you want to say it.
Don’t get stuck fussing over a word when the whole line could need to be edited or a whole verse needs to be deleted!
Write more than you need for the song, then:
Remove and delete everything that isn’t necessary
Combine lines to simplify and improve how you are communicating your ideas
Remove extra lines/ideas/lyrics and save them for another song
Write more than you need
Compress it, remove excess
Sing into their ears
Links to related epicsongwriting articles:
Links for further reading about Haiku: