If you’re new to songwriting, it may seem like there’s no method to know how to write great song lyrics.
Writing lyrics is the most difficult part of the process for a lot of songwriters, but you don’t have to be a skilled lyricist to write down song lyrics that work for your music.
Actually, with a couple of basic lyrics writing ideas and an open mind, you will get started without any prior knowledge or experience.
Here is how to write song lyrics in 5 steps.
How to write great song lyrics
Let’s begin at the very first stage. There are no concrete guidelines for writing great lyrics, but asking yourself what you think and care about the most is an effective starting place.
Is it your relationship with your family or romantic girlfriend? A social justice cause? A spot in a fantasy world you turn to to help understand your own reality?
Some artists say they have trouble writing about lyrics as a result of they don’t know what to write about. However, the fact is that if you care about something, you’ll always have topics to base your lyrics on.
The trick is paying attention to your life and the world around you. Great lyrics begin with music-makers getting to the heart of what they care about and writing things down.
1. Keep a journal and write consistently
If you don’t know where to start, start with keeping a journal and writing down your ideas. What you jot down at first doesn’t need to be song lyrics necessarily. Actually, what you write doesn’t even need to make sense.
Simply writing in a journal every single day will get your ideas on paper and prepare you to write lyrics. If the same ideas pop up repeatedly, pay close attention to them. These concepts will serve as solid foundations for your lyrics.
Not to mention that everyday journaling is a wonderful practice for maintaining your mental health.
2. Begin with a melody, phrase, or expression and experiment by setting text to music
In this step, you’ll begin to attach specific words and phrases to musical concepts. The music could be anything from a drumbeat to a fleshed-out melody.
At this stage, you should use lyrical ideas taken from your journal and apply them to your music. Or, you’ll be able to experiment at the moment by singing, humming, or rapping whatever comes into your head over the music.
There’s no right or wrong strategy to go about it, and don’t be afraid to try singing gibberish as a result of it’s actually an excellent method for listening to what works and what doesn’t.
Also, looping musical ideas at this step will make your life a lot simpler as a lyric writer. You’ll need to hear musical ideas again and again to generate lyrics on the spot. Note that some artists write vocal melodies and lyrics at the same time during this writing production process.
Your lyrics should fit naturally into the framework of your music. To make this happen, you’ll ultimately have to tweak any pre-written lyrics to match your music. Specific words could be shortened, cut, or swapped out for others to fit with your musical ideas.
3. Build a narrative
Not every track needs to feature a lyrical story, however, experimenting with narratives will help teach you to write lyrics if you’re inexperienced.
Humans love stories. Storytelling is a crucial method we learn how to understand the world around us. If your song includes a compelling story, it’ll be more likely to be listened to.
The stories you feature in your songs could be inspired by your own life or told by imagining characters. The details don’t matter as long as you’re creating something compelling that can touch people’s souls.
4. Write one part at a time
Instead of writing an entire song’s worth of lyrics all at once, try dividing it into sections. Doing this is especially useful if you’re inexperienced and unsure how to start.
Nailing down a verse, chorus, or bridge will provide you with the confidence and direction you need to complete a whole track. And because choruses often repeat throughout songs without changing lyrics, you’ll only have to write those parts one time.
When you break lyrics into sections, it’s simpler to hone in on and excellent your best ideas. If you discover that one part of your song is stronger than the others, develop the weaker lyrics to match your best ones.
5. Don’t be too hard on yourself
That is crucial piece of advice you’ll discover on this list. Writing lyrics is not simple. And, just like other parts of songwriting, you need to practice writing great lyrics.
If the first couple of lyrics you write don’t work effectively, it doesn’t mean you’re not making progress. It takes a lot of trial and error for many songwriters to find their lyrics styles.
Be patient, keep experimenting, keep writing ideas down. Finally, you’ll discover methods that work for you and a path towards connecting with your listeners through lyrics in a meaningful and intimate way.