Lyric writing can be incredibly frustrating for musicians! You spent years learning to play your instrument and suddenly you’re back to feeling like a complete beginner.
Don’t worry, these games will help!
Write Lyrics to a Song Chorus
Instead of trying to write an entire song, keep it simple… write the lyrics to a song chorus!
There are many ways to structure a chorus, but this one way to create a solid song chorus without wasting time arguing with it…
- Write 4 lines of lyrics for your chorus.
- Start with a title and write 2 rhyming lines that fit with it.
- Then put the title in the 1st & 3rd, or the 2nd & 4th lines.
- Fill in your rhyming couplet in the other lines.
- Your chorus lyrics are done….
There are other patterns you can use to place your title in the chorus, start with these two patterns to keep it simple for this game. Remember this is a game, so try to write quickly. The lyrics don’t have to be great, your goal is to explore some ideas and turn them into 4 lines of lyrics for a chorus.
Write a Story
The second biggest challenge in lyric writing, after getting your ideas out of your head, is organizing your ideas so they make sense. The easiest way to use a story. Songs are stories too! Your brain loves to recognize patterns, especially the beginning, middle and end of a story.
When you write the story you want to tell in your song, it’s easier to write the lyrics for the second verse or the bridge. You stay focused so you know what to write next and don’t waste time trying to fix a broken song later.
Make a game of it and see how quickly you can find the story in a song you’re listening to, or to write a story for the new song you’re thinking about writing.
Find Stories in Songs: Songwriting Game
Analyze the story in songs you love. Write down a sentence or phrase for each song section. Don’t just think about it, write down the stories. Look for similar patterns in different songs and in different get.
Write Your Own Story: Songwriting Game
Write a simple story in point form and write your song around it. Change this outline if you think of better ideas as you’re writing the song. This story outline focuses your efforts rather than limiting your creativity.
Steal a Scene – Songwriting Topic
There’s an old songwriting cliché: “Show don’t tell” that is a reminder for songwriters to make their lyrics immediate. It’s more interesting for your listeners to feel like they’re in the action as participants instead of spectators. Why watch a show if you can be in it?
Steal a Scene: Songwriting Game
Describe a scene in point form. Borrow one from a song, movie, book or real life moment in your life. Use interesting details and imagery to describe how the scene looks, sounds, smells, tastes and feels. Use your work as a basis as a starting point for or to add more details to your own song.
Write a Scene: Songwriting Game
Describe a scene from your imagination in point form. Use interesting details and imagery to describe how the scene looks, sounds, smells, tastes and feels. Use your work as a basis as a starting point for your own song.
Make a Scene: Songwriting Game
Take a song you’re working on and imagine a scene, emotional situation or setting where the action happens. Brainstorm a description, use detail, metaphors and imagery. Add the most interesting details to your lyrics so your audience can imagine the scene in your song.
Twist a Cliche
Stop using boring clichés that dumb down your lyrics… use this game to:
- Find more fun in your songwriting,
- Level up your lyrics, with variations on overused phrases,
- Add more interest for your listeners, and
- Create better song titles!
The rules are simple:
- Brainstorm a list of clichés, especially ones you commonly use in conversation.
- You can Google “common clichés” or similar terms to find more to add to your list.
- Write variations of the clichés, find new ways to phrase or frame them to change the meaning or make the expression fresh.
- See how many variations you can write in 5 minutes.
For bonus points: use some of your twisted clichés to start a new song or in a song you’re working on right now…
Rhyming seems simple, but choosing obvious rhymes sounds boring and your lyrics sound amateur or cheesy. Make a game of it by trying to find as many rhymes as you can. Don’t forget to use slant rhymes (a near rhyme with a similar, not exact ending… read Slant Rhymes for a detailed explanation and examples). Keep a list of great rhymes you hear in songs you love… you can use them for inspiration when you need it.
Rhyme Find: Songwriting Game
Choose a word at the end of a line in a song you’re writing. Set a timer for 2 minutes and write down as many rhyming words as you can. Then choose three relevant words and create a line for each. Pick the best for your song.
Find More Rhymes: Songwriting Game
When you have a line to rhyme, instead of choosing one word to rhyme with it… find at least 3 rhyme words. Write a rhyming line for each word and pick the best to use in your song.