One of the best ways to become a better songwriter is to master how to write great lyrics. If you’ve only recently decided that song writing is the path for you, however, you might find that lyric writing isn’t as easy as you first thought that it was. This especially may be true if you have little to no experience in other forms of creative writing, such as poetry. That doesn’t mean that you can’t do it, however. Here is a step-by-step guide on writing great song lyrics.
Jot down whatever comes to you
There are numerous ways to begin. One way is to note down whatever comes to your mind and then try to piece it all together. When you first start, it’s likely that a flood of ideas will come to you. So get into the habit early of writing them down and assessing which are worth pursuing and turning into a structured lyric.
Choose your title
The title of a song can become the chorus’s punchline/hook, as well as relate to the main overall theme you’re trying to convey. So, choosing the title is an important aspect of the process of lyric writing, as it needs to encapsulate what your song is about in just a few words.
While there are endless possibilities, your title should be both catchy and memorable. If you consider your very favourite songs, you’ll probably realise that they use very short titles while also managing to raise a degree of curiosity.
There will be days where you’re simply feeling completely uninspired and won’t have any idea on what to write. That doesn’t mean you should simply give up, however. Instead, just write whatever comes to mind, no matter how surreal or nonsensical it might seem.
This is called stream of consciousness. You may even find it helpful to start humming the words that come to you. This is a good way, in fact, of beginning to come up with a melody for the lyric at the same time.
Write to music
If you write music, you may find it easier to come up with a piano chord or guitar riff and write lyrics around it. Oftentimes, the music may just capture you enough to help you formulate some lyrics to match it. If you aren’t a musician, you can use music samples and instrumentals instead to inspire your lyric writing.
Once you’ve spent somewhere between hours and weeks on writing something that has meaning to you, you’ve finished that all-important first draft. You’re not quite finished yet, however. You’ll next want to give it a read through and ask yourself whether you need to rewrite any of it. Don’t go for perfection, though; it might just need a bit of polish.
At this stage, you may wish to introduce other aspects of song writing, such as structure (meter and rhyme scheme). There are various schemes and metres that you can use. Another aspect to introduce could be literary devices, such as personification, metaphors, and similes. If you’re not used to these devices, it would be wise to take the time to learn them.