Anyone can write a song; one need not be a virtuoso for it. However, so many incredible songs exist in the world today, that the process can get intimidating for beginners. The key to great song writing is thorough preparation, repetition and organization. Let us study some easy tips to write song lyrics for beginners.
1. Accept and recognize your talent
The journey of writing song lyrics can be, at times, scary, unproductive and upsetting. However, you must continue the practice and explore your strengths and weaknesses. Keep telling yourself in your heart that you are a song writer. The ancient wisdom: the mind is the builder is very true here. The manifestation will start as soon as you make the declaration: I am a songwriter.
2. Avoid comparisons and stay original
The old adage ‘compare and despair’ is true. The first thing to do is to stop comparing your lyrics or style with that of other famous songs or songwriters. The key is to keep at the practice. The more songs you write, the better you will get over time. You can always get inspired by reading poetry and listening to top songs but you must stay original.
3. Get organized
Always carry a notepad and pen with you. This is very essential to write song lyrics on the go as you never know when inspiration will strike. You can write a song on your phone, tablet or computer –so carry at least one of them and jot down the lyrics when a good idea strikes.
4. Pay attention to rhythm
If you want people to love your songs, rhyming is important. You can keep things simple; people love songs they can easily use and repeat. Rhythm is also important in song lyrics as it helps the song easily flow off the tip of the tongue. Make sure your lyrics are not forced; lyrics should not feel forced and rushed.
5. Play around with hard and soft consonants
Some words make it difficult for songs to roll off the tongue. Make smart replacements for those words. For example– I wanna sounds a lot better in songs than I want to and so on. Rhyming can be challenging but with practice you will be in a better position to use vowels and consonants that sound great in the songs.
6. Stay away from predictable stuff
Over the years, people have heard many songs. So you must avoid being predictable and annoying by using similar themes or lines that have been used over and over. While you can keep things simple; you must definitely keep repetition out of your songs in order to avoid boring people. Also try not to write on topics or use words that are familiar to you but not to the general public.
7. Use a theme
Inspiration, as stated above, can strike at any time. But make sure to write based on your mood-romantic, ironical, fun etc. Many songwriters decide a theme before starting the lyrics. You can choose a central theme and play around with words –for example moonlight, stars, water, silver, clouds make a theme. Build around that theme and write down ideas that strike you based on those words. Let your song tell a story. A good song has a beginning, middle and end. Much like a movie, your song should convey clear emotions or at least tell a story. If you are unable to develop an idea, start over; this is probably an indication that your idea wasn’t strong enough in the first place.
8. Learn about chorus, bridges and versus
If you are a beginner to song writing, you will need to experiment with different genres such as pop, rock etc. Accordingly, your song will need chorus, verses and bridge. The verses will build your plot line, the chorus will repeat musically and lyrically and bridge will appear once. Many expert song writers these days delay the chorus by adding a pre-chorus or climb to their songs. This is getting very fashionable nowadays. A good thing to remember about the chorus: don’t bore us, get to the chorus! Most good songs have two verses, one chorus/bridge and a home run.
9. Lyrics and music/harmony and melody?
Experienced writers come up with lyrics and music simultaneously. Beginners to song writing can stick only to the lyrics and song structure first and decide the melody later.
10. Read books on song writing
There are many books on song writing techniques that can help you write song lyrics. Some popular and effective ones are:
- Song writing for dummies by Dave Austin and Jim Peterik
- Pat Pattinson’s Song Writing Guide for Poets and Lyricists
- Pat Pattinson’s Writing Better Lyrics
11. Be colorful and descriptive
Grab the listener’s attention from the start. Use metaphors, euphemisms and similes. Avoid prosaic lyrics like ‘I am drinking too much’-instead go for something more interesting such as ‘the bottle is getting empty’.
12. Think of a killer title
There are several sources you can rely upon for killer titles-the newspaper, a movie, something you read in magazine or book, heard someone say or even inspirational lines from another song or poem. Keep your eyes and ears open for it. The title can come once or twice in the song, even in the chorus. It should be catchy and it should make your listener want to listen to the complete song. The idea of the title is to convey and summarize the whole song.
13. Be patient
Famous song writers have been known to work on a single song for weeks, even months before they are satisfied with their work. A great song can take time, so never rush. Go for a walk, breathe, then come back and work on it again. Polish and refine it. Keep asking yourself: Is it really good? Can I make it better? That is the key to writing great song lyrics for beginners.
As with everything else in life, the more you practice, the better you will get. That is the key to writing a great song for beginners. Play and write with friends, join a writer’s club, enroll in a songwriter’s workshop or find out where you can write a song online. Also interact with other songwriters- famous or amateurs. All these ideas will inspire you to use words and music skillfully and soon you will have beautiful songs that you are proud of!