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Write the Songs You Want to Write

Are you writing the songs you want to write? When your musical intuition fails your song fails… unless you know how to craft the song you want to write...
Write the songs you want to write, solve songwriter’s block and write better songs, songwriting tips that actually work, lyric writing solutions, solving songwriting mistakes, improve your songwriting process, songwriting tutorial that makes sense, improve your songwriting productivity and write awesome songs

Table of Contents

Are You Writing the Songs You Want to Write?

Who’s in Charge of Your Songwriting?

When you pick up your guitar, who decides which song to play… you or your guitar?

Okay, then why do you let your songwriting ideas dictate the song you’re writing?

Have you ever been halfway through writing a song and thought “What do I say next?”

Ever get stuck on your second verse and had no idea where to go with it?

Have you written a great song but gotten stuck with no idea what to write about in the bridge?

Writing From The Heart Can Work…

Don’t get me wrong, writing from the heart is great when it works but let’s admit the truth, it’s not predictable. When your musical intuition fails you… your song fails too!

That’s because you’re letting yourself write on autopilot. No thinking involved.

Let me put it another way… when you write songs completely with your musical intuition your results can be random. Maybe the song works, maybe you just end up frustrated again. You keep writing hoping to finish before you get stuck and you end up with another unfinished song. How many unfinished songs do you have lying around in your notebooks and in your cloud storage?

Let’s stop letting your guitar tell you what to play and stop allowing your songwriting ideas tell you what to write… let’s take charge of your songwriting.

Below the video lesson is a transcript of the video and a list of writing prompts to help you explore your songwriting ideas so you finish the songs you want to write instead of getting lost in the details.

You Can Write the Songs You Want To Write

Take an old broken song you haven’t finished or that next song idea that’s been floating around in your head for the past few days… and put the title or lyric hook at the top of a blank page.

Write the songs you want to write, solve songwriter’s block and write better songs, songwriting tips that actually work, lyric writing solutions, solving songwriting mistakes, improve your songwriting process, songwriting tutorial that makes sense, improve your songwriting productivity and write awesome songs

Start with thinking first, but take 10 minutes and write down some of the answers to these writing prompts. 

You don’t have to write about all of them, just start with the prompts that feel easy. 

Write in any order that makes sense:

♩ What do you want your song to sound like? What style or genre? 

♫ What’s the instrumentation in the final version of the song?

♩ Is there a band or artist do you want it to sound like?

♫ What vibe do you want?

♩ Which feelings or emotions do you want to trigger in your audience?

♫ What’s the story? What do you want to say with this song?

♩ Who is the hero, or the villain? 

♫ What’s the drama or conflict in the song?

♩ What’s the point of the song?

♫ What message do you want to share with the world?

Write the songs you want to write, solve songwriter’s block and write better songs, songwriting tips that actually work, lyric writing solutions, solving songwriting mistakes, improve your songwriting process, songwriting tutorial that makes sense, improve your songwriting productivity and write awesome songs

Backwards Design: Start With Your Goal

This seems backwards because it is… the process is called backwards design. Instead of writing from your first idea to the end of the song, you start with the goal and work backwards. You pick your goal and then work out the details, instead of starting with details and drowning in them.

Sure it seems like more work, but it actually isn’t, especially if you finish the song.

How many times have you tossed a song because it didn’t seem like it was going to work out? Whether you realized it or not, often the problem wasn’t that your intuition failed you. It wasn’t a lame idea. The truth is you didn’t know where you were going with the song. Your goals weren’t clear!

Sure it’s fun to go out for a drive and head down a random road to see what you can find… 

But if you’re trying to get somewhere, usually you decide on your destination before you start the car. That way you might actually get there!

So regardless of how you usually start your songs, before you dive into your songwriting session, take a few minutes and think about what you want your song to sound like, and what you want to say. If you work out a story or decide on your message first, it’s a lot easier to write it. You won’t end up with another half-finished song in the trash. Instead you’ll write the song you want to write, not some accidental song that you might like… or not.

Now go think through a new song before you get lost in all the details. Try this out, it actually works!

Write the songs you want to write, solve songwriter’s block and write better songs, songwriting tips that actually work, lyric writing solutions, solving songwriting mistakes, improve your songwriting process, songwriting tutorial that makes sense, improve your songwriting productivity and write awesome songs

Action Steps to Write The Songs You Want To Write

Write a Song Title or Topic at the top of a blank page and write your answers to some of these questions in any order that makes sense (this expanded list also has the questions from the video)…

♩ What do you want your song to sound like? What style or genre? 

♫ What’s the instrumentation in the final version of the song?

♬ Is there a band or artist do you want it to sound like?

♫ Who can you hear covering your song?

♬ What vibe do you want in the song?

♩ What message do you want to share with the world?

♫ What’s the point of the song?

♬ What do you want to say with this song?

♫ Which feelings or emotions do you want to trigger in your audience?

♬ What tension between 2 or more emotions can you use?

♩ What’s the story / plot? 

♫ What’s the drama or conflict in the song?

♬ Who is the hero, or the villain? 

♫ Who else is in the song? What other characters would add to it?

♩ What would make this song different from other songs about similar topics or themes?

♫ What is your perspective on the theme / topic? 

♬ Why is it different from other songs?

♩ What sensations can you write about? (sight, sound, physical feelings, smell, taste)

♫ What symbolism could you use?

♬ What figurative language would work (metaphors, similes, allusions)?

Write the songs you want to write, solve songwriter’s block and write better songs, songwriting tips that actually work, lyric writing solutions, solving songwriting mistakes, improve your songwriting process, songwriting tutorial that makes sense, improve your songwriting productivity and write awesome songs

“Have To” or “Want To”?

Don’t think of this as a “must do” list, but as a guide to exploring your songwriting ideas. Spending a little time writing about your topic before you start writing lyrics (or the music) will help you craft a compelling story that touches the emotions of your audience.

Being clear on what you want to write about gives you a solid goal and makes it easier to write the song you want to write!

Leave a comment to help other songwriters…

How do you explore your songwriting ideas?

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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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