What Do You Want Out of Writing a Song?
Whenever you set yourself to writing anything, ask yourself this: “What do you want to communicate?” Finding the answer to this question is extremely important in any kind of writing, but especially creative writing such as songwriting. Having a clear goal of what you are trying to say or communicate in your work helps you gain a lot of clarity in how to proceed with your writing.
Then, once you know what you’re trying to communicate, ask yourself where do you see this song taking you. Are you writing this for an acoustic set at the local coffee shop? Do you want to write something romantic for your partner? Maybe you have dreams of performing your song on late night TV in front of a viewing audience of millions. Knowing the journey you dream your song will take you on is equally important.
While a song may not go where you expect or say things in quite the way you intended, don’t be upset. Having these goals in mind will help you develop focus your writing style and give more cohesiveness to your songwriting work.
Write to What You Know and What You Can Do
When you sit down to write a song, don’t try to write for a symphony orchestra unless that’s something you know how to do, You want to focus on writing to what you know how to do musically. It doesn’t matter if all you know how to do is pick away at an acoustic guitar or hammer away on a synthesizer. Focus on what you know and your personal style will shine.
If you feel like your song needs something more to get it where you think it should be, that’s when collaborating with other musicians is a better idea. After all, this is how many bands are formed. A lot of very successful musicians started out as one-trick ponies until they met up with others who complemented them and brought each other up.
Get in the Habit of Writing Down Ideas Whenever They Come
Developing good habits is good in life, and it’s even more important to do so with your songwriting. The most important songwriting habit to develop is recognizing how you’re coming up with your ideas and getting them written down before they’re lost. Write down any lyrics or song ideas you have as soon as you get them. Do this even if it means carrying a small notebook and pen with you everywhere.
Keep in mind that your best ideas will often hit you when you least expect them. Also, take note of whatever makes you most inspired. If there are certain places, people, or activities that inspire your songwriting the most, be sure to cherish those muses. Knowing these things will help you better define your songwriting style and focus.
Songwriters Should Just Be Themselves
As a songwriter, don’t try to be anyone but yourself. You can be inspired by others and perhaps mimic them in some ways. But developing your own personal lyrical and musical style is paramount to success. Remember that what makes a “good” song is highly subjective. Don’t try to write a song everyone will love. Someone out there will love it, and someone will hate it. At the end of the day, the song you write should be one that you’re happy with. As with any other creative endeavor you make, that should be all that ever matters.