Have you ever felt at a loss for words when you are writing a song? Have you used the same words or rhymes or felt like your lyrics are a little lackluster? We've all been there, whether as a songwriter, social media creator, author, blogger, poet, or just about any career where language is essential to the job.
For songwriters, lyrics are a half to a whole. Unless it's an instrumental track, but go with me on this. When your lyrics come together and form this perfect unity to the melody, there's nothing quite like it. C'mon, you know that feeling when you hear a song like that, so here are three keys to building better lyrics!
1. Destination Writing
In Andrea Stolpe's Writing Popular Lyrics book, she suggests destination writing as a technique to generate phrases. It is "free writing directed at a place, a person, or a time instead of an object." Begin with one key word—a place—as the driving force for your song content and use all of your senses when creating the content.
2. Read Your Lyrics
Sounds simple, but that's kind of the point. Do your lyrics sound bad? Do they not make sense or do they make too much sense? If so, ask yourself questions like:
- Am I using a really predictable rhyme?
- Am I using a tired metaphor?
- Is the message or story interesting?
- Are there any other details to the song that I may be overlooking?
3. Be a Listener
Put yourself in the listener's shoes. Write your song, but take your song in as a listener. When you write a song entirely from your perspective, which is absolutely a great thing to do, you still need to think about how others will perceive the song. This can be huge in developing your lyrics beyond your original write and help create more depth to them.
Hopefully, these three keys will help you on your way towards building better lyrics, and enjoy the process along the way!