Feeling frustrated? Staring at a blank page? You’re not alone. Here are 10 tips to fight writer’s block and help spark your next hit.
1) Move Around
Sometimes the best lyrics and melodies can come out of you when your brain is focused on other things. Activities such as cooking, driving, and even jogging can help spark ideas you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.
2) Write Things Down
As you go about your day, get in the habit of collecting a list of “Song Seeds”. These can be as short as 2 to 3 words and serve as the seeds of what could be your next song. Many hooks and titles can come from this. The more you accumulate, the easier writing will be.
3) Record Record Record
The same way you collect written “Song Seeds” you can also record them. As a songwriter, your Smartphone can be your best friend as it allows you to record voice audio memos so anytime a melody comes to mind it will never be forgotten. Who cares if your friends think you’re weird when you’re singing into your phone; this could be your next hit!
4) Experiment With Song Form
Some of the world’s most famous songs have no chorus. Try writing a verse refrain (AABA) song form or even a verse only. This can also stop you from going back to your bad habits and potentially spark new ideas. Some examples of this are “Don’t Know Why” by Norah Jones and “Make You Feel My Love” by Bob Dylan, recorded by Adele.
5) Start From The End
Usually the first line is the hardest to write, so don’t start there! Try starting with the chorus or the bridge. Sometimes writing a song backwards can also help you know where the story of the song is going and save you from falling into “second verse hell”.
6) Find A Friend
Almost every song on today’s charts was co-written. Collaborating with a friend may not always make your song better, but it is guaranteed to make your song different than what it would’ve been solo. Collaborating with more seasoned writers can also help spark ideas when it comes down to writing your own song.
7) Know What You’re Talking About
Before you pick up that guitar, make sure you know what you want to say in the song. Try writing down what you want to say in each section. If you are co-writing, try going out to lunch with your co-writer and discussing exactly what the song will be about over a burger. Candid conversations like this can produce great seeds for lyrical ideas and hooks.
8) Try New Ideas
Always be open to new ideas and trying them in your songs. Sometimes the best lyrical ideas sound absolutely absurd when they were first suggested. This way you at least know for sure if it’s a bad idea, and the more of those you get through, the closer you are to that great idea.
Most hit songs went through several different versions before they were recorded. After you’ve had some time away from a song you’ve written, try coming back with a different perspective and seeing what changes could be made to make it better. Maybe the chorus for that song you wrote last month fits better with the song you’re working on today. Take your time.
10) Write More
Most professional songwriters today make 100% of their income off of 1% of the songs they’ve written. That’s a lot of songs! Like anything else, Songwriting is a skilled acquired by long hours of work and much trial and error.
The more songs you write, the better your songs will be so don’t worry if the one you’re working on today isn’t a masterpiece, finish it!
Click here to start collecting royalties from songs that you've written.