Perhaps one of the loneliest pursuits in the world? Unless of course you write in a team, but even then there are times when you’ll be writing alone and searching for a diamond in the dirt.
Here are our 5 top habits for effective song writing.
- Use anything to get down your ideas.
Ideas are annoying little buggers, they come along just when you don’t expect it; at dinner, in bed at 3am,on the bus, even on the loo! You don’t need a studio to capture your ideas, I use my iPhone to capture both lyrics and melodies. Most smart phones will have notes and audio record options. If you don’t have a smart phone then buy a cheap hand-held recorder and if nothing else, make sure you keep a pen and pad with you - even by your bed!
- Make time to craft your ideas.
There may be the odd moment of utter genius, when you write a song from start to finish without stopping - but these are the exception, not the rule. If you have the germ of an idea, then make time alone to work on the lyrics and the melody to make sure you have the best possible song. Listen to interviews with all the top writers and you’ll hear the same story of how they craft their songs.
- Learn the language.
Books that are a must have are; a dictionary, thesaurus, rhyming dictionary and then any other excellent tools. If you prefer to work in the digital domain then use the ones built into your compter or online. Keep learning new words and new ways to say things; most of all learn to love language and all its beauty. Make sure you read as much as you can, even books you wouldn’t imagine reading like the classics by Shakespeare, Swift, Fitzgerald et al, even the Bible has some cool imagery in it.
- Keep everything.
Not every idea will make it to the finish line, but make sure you keep all your lyrical and musical ideas. It’s amazing how often you can go back at a later date and find the idea you were looking for hidden in the mounds of paper, or in an old session. Periodically go through all your ideas and audit them again, sometimes ideas have a time and season and serendipity may hand you a hit!
- Work hard
An old friend of mine once said that songs are 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration; I tend to agree, but it’s worth working hard to craft a great song. Some of you will write for pleasure, other’s for money - I do like my 6 monthly royalty cheques when they arrive. Whatever motivates you, one rule remains, hard work is the key - it’s amazing how lucky hardworking people are!
The final one is never give up, we all get writers block, but that sorts the men from the boys. So there we are, if you’re a new writer, we hope this has helped and inspired you. If you’re an established writer, then let us have your tricks and tips!