There’s no one way to write a song that stands out from the rest. Songwriting, a creative process of writing your own songs is very subjective and personal.
However, there are certain techniques and songwriting tips that can help make your next song shine.
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at 17 best songwriting tips from the music industry pros that will help you when writing your own songs. Each of these tips is backed up by quotes from some of the world’s most successful songwriters.
So whether you’re just starting out your musical journey or you’ve been writing songs for years, read on for some helpful advice on how to write a hit song!
How to start writing a song
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to starting the songwriting process. Different methods work for different people, and it often depends on the type of song you’re trying to write.
If you’re struggling to get started, here are a few ways that might help:
1. Start with the melody line
Songwriting can be a daunting task. Where do you start? What the song structure will be? Do you begin with the lyrics or the melody?
The answer is that most songwriters start with composing melodies.
If you have a strong melody in your head, start by humming or singing it into a voice recorder. This will help you to develop the song further and come up with the chords and lyrics that fit with the melody. Once you have the basics of your song down, it’s time to start fine-tuning it.
Experiment with different chord progressions and lyric ideas until you find something that feels right. And don’t be afraid to make changes along the way – even the greatest songwriters revise their work as they go. With a little practice and perseverance, you’ll be penning hits in no time.
2. Writing lyrics first
If you’re struggling to come up with a melody or musical ideas, start by writing lyrics for your song. This can be a great way to get the creative juices flowing and develop a direction for your song.
Once you have some lyrics written, try setting them to a simple chord progression and see if any melodies come to mind. If not, don’t worry – there are plenty of other ways to write a song.
You can also start keeping the list of lyrical ideas, so you will never run out of topics to write about.
“There’s no wrong way to write a song. You can do it by the numbers or you can just follow your heart.” – Lionel Richie
3. Work from a chord progression
If you have a basic chord progression in mind, start by working out which chords fit best with your song structure or lyrics. This can be a great way to develop your song and find new ideas.
Once you have your chord progressions that sound good, you are halfway through. This will help to bring your song to life and make it more interesting to listen to.
“Chords are the colors of a painting; rhythm is the brushstrokes.” – Billy Joel
4. Start at the beginning
If you want to write an intro for your track, start by brainstorming some ideas for an opening riff or hook. This can be a great way to set the tone for your entire song and get listeners interested from the get-go.
Some of the biggest hits started from just one line or a few chord progressions. Once you got chords you can continue with the rhyme scheme or lyrics.
Many artists have their preferred writing process. With time you will find your own process but you can always experiment with a different approach for your new song. Keep an open mind!
As you can see, there are many different ways to start songwriting. The exact songwriting process often depends on what type of song you’re trying to write, and what works best for you.
Experiment with different approaches and see what works best for you. This will help you to develop your song further and come up with a final tune.
Write About What You Know
One of the best songwriting tips for songwriters is to write about what they know.
This doesn’t mean that you can only write songs about your own life, but it does mean that your lyrics should be based on personal experience. Use your own life as inspiration for your songwriting process, and you’ll be sure to create something special.
One of the main benefits of songwriting based on personal experience is that it allows you to connect with your audience in a deeper way.
When your lyrics are based on your own life, they come from a place of authenticity and honesty. This makes it easier for listeners to relate to your music and to feel connected to you as an artist.
Another benefit of writing from personal experience is that it can help you process difficult emotions. If you’ve gone through a tough experience, writing a song about it can be a powerful way to work through those feelings.
By putting your thoughts and feelings into words, you can start to make sense of them and move on from the experience.
Finally, writing songs based on personal experience can be a great way to learn more about yourself. As you explore the different aspects of your life, you’ll gain a better understanding of who you are as a person. This self-awareness can be valuable both personally and professionally.
“Songwriting is all about being honest with yourself and writing from the heart. It doesn’t matter what style of music you write, if it’s coming from a real place then people will connect with it.” – Ed Sheeran
Tell a Story
When songwriting storytelling is a powerful tool because it allows the listener to connect with the music on a deeper level.
When the lyrics are imbued with storytelling, it becomes easier for the listener to imagine themselves in the song’s world and feel the emotions that the singer is experiencing. This can make the listener feel more connected to the song and ultimately more engaged with the music itself.
A great song tells a story that listeners can relate to. Whether you’re writing about your own life or someone else’s, focus on creating a narrative that will resonate with your audience.
One of the best ways to write a song with a strong narrative is to start by brainstorming some ideas. Write down everything that comes to mind, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. Once you have a list of potential topics, start narrow them down until you find one that feels right for your song.
Once you’ve decided on a story, start fleshing out the details. What happened in the beginning? What’s happening now? What will happen in the end? The more specific you can be, the better. Try to include sensory details in your lyrics so listeners can really visualize what’s going on in the story.
“I always start with characters or a situation, and then I try to find a song that would fit that particular story. – Taylor Swift
Create Memorable Melodies
A great melody is one of the most important parts of a successful song. If your melody is catchy and easy to remember, listeners will be more likely to enjoy your track and want to listen to it again.
There are a few different songwriting tips you can use to create a memorable melody. First, start by coming up with a strong hook or opening riff. This will be the part of your song that listeners remember the most, so make sure it’s catchy and unique.
Once you have your opening riff, start creating the rest of your melody. Pay attention to the overall shape of the melody and how it flows from one note to the next. Try to create a melody that has a clear beginning, middle, and end.
Finally, make sure your lyrics fit well with your melody. The two should complement each other and work together to create a memorable song.
Always have your voice recorder ready when inspiration hits so you don’t forget your melody ideas.
“A lot of times I’ll just sing something over and over again until I can nail down a good melody for it… ” – Lady Gaga
Find Your Own Voice
One of the most important aspects for any songwriter to do is find their own voice. Great songwriters and grammy winners are the ones who have found their own unique sound and style.
One way to find your voice is to experiment with different genres and styles of music. Don’t be afraid to try something new – you never know what you might like. As you explore different genres, pay attention to the elements that you enjoy the most. What kind of melodies do you like? What kind of lyrics? What kind of production?
Once you’ve identified the elements you enjoy, start incorporating them into your own music. Over time, you’ll develop your own unique sound that will set you apart from other songwriters.
Finding your own voice is a key component of your creative process.
This means writing songs that are true to who you are as an artist, and not trying to copy someone else’s style. Be yourself, and don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd.
It’s not something you can do with just one song, you will need to harness your style with practice.
Remember to always write music from your heart, and stay true to yourself, no matter what others consider common practice or “normal” in the music business.
Here are some other practical tips you can follow on your journey to find your own voice:
1. Write what you feel.
The first step to finding your creative voice is to write what you feel. Don’t censor yourself or try to second-guess what might be popular in today’s music business – just write what comes naturally to you. This is your music, so it should reflect your unique perspective and style.
2. Experiment with different genres and styles.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different genres and styles. You may find that some styles come more naturally to you than others, but it’s important to explore all possibilities if you want to find your true creative voice.
3. Find inspiration in other music.
It’s always helpful to find inspiration in other music. Listen to as many different types of music as possible and see what grabs your attention. Once you figure out what styles you like, try emulating some of the techniques that you like best.
4. Write often.
The more you write, the better you’ll get at tapping into your creative voice. It’s important to make writing a regular habit, so set aside time each day (or week) to work on new songs.
“To find your voice, you have to be willing to use it.” – Bruce Springsteen
Keep It Simple
One of the biggest mistakes songwriters make is trying to cram too much into their songs. Keep your lyrics simple and focused on one main idea or emotion. The same goes for your melody- try to create something that’s catchy and easy to remember.
If you can say what you need to say in a few words, that’s usually better than using a lot of flowery language. Be direct and concise, and let your words speak for themselves.
General guidelines to consider:
- Use simple words and phrases.
- Avoid using complex metaphors or lyrics that are difficult to understand.
- Stick to one main idea or emotion per song.
- Keep your song structure simple and easy to follow.
“I try to keep my lyrics pretty simple. I want people to be able to understand them and relate to them.” – Jason Mraz
Use Powerful Imagery
One of the best ways to make your lyrics stand out is to use powerful imagery. All big hits have one thing in common – they evoke emotion in the listener.
Paint a picture in your listener’s mind with your words, and take them on a journey through your song.
To create vivid images in your lyrics, focus on using concrete language and specific details. The more specific you can be, the better. For example, rather than saying “I’m feeling sad,” try something like “I’m feeling like a dark cloud is hanging over me.”
You can also use simple metaphors and similes to enhance your imagery. Just be careful not to overdo it. A few well-placed metaphors can make your lyrics more interesting and memorable, but too many can make them feel forced or contrived.
“I try to write pictures with my words so that people can see what I’m saying.” – Garth Brooks
End on a High Note
When you’re writing a song, it’s important to keep the energy level up until the very end. The last few lines of your song will be stick in listeners’ heads the most, so make sure they’re memorable.
One way to do this is to save your best melody or riff for the end of the song. This will give listeners something to remember and leave them wanting more.
You can also try ending your song with a powerful message or emotional moment. This can be a great way to connect with listeners and leave them thinking about your lyrics long after the song is over.
“I always try to end the song on a strong note, something that people will remember.” -Beyonce
Step away from your instrument to write.
Among the songwriting tips we’are sharing today this one is quite counterintuitive but actually is one of the best and often overlooked.
It’s easy to get comfortable when seated at the piano or with a guitar in your hands. However, this can lead to complacency and hinder your songwriting process. By sitting down at your instrument, you may be limiting yourself to your usual tropes. This can lead to stagnation and prevent you from expanding your repertoire.
Write a song you can play live
Your Digital audio workstation (DAW) software is a remarkable tool and it does wonders. But when you’re writing your music, keep in mind how it will sound when played live.
This doesn’t mean you should avoid using DAWs altogether. They’re still a great tool for songwriting and can help you flesh out your ideas. But it’s important to make sure your songs will translate well to a live setting.
One way to do this is to keep your arrangements simple. A complex arrangement with a lot of moving parts can be hard to recreate live, so try to focus on the essentials.
Another thing to keep in mind is your instrumentation. If you’re using a lot of synths and samples in your song, consider how you’ll replace them live. It’s often best to stick with acoustic instruments that can be easily replicated onstage.
You may need to adjust your arrangements or performance style to make sure the songs are as powerful and engaging in a live setting as they are in the recording studio. Remember that your audience wants to feel engaged and entertained, so make sure your music is up to the task!
Take Your Time
There’s no rush when it comes to writing a song. There is no time limit on finishing your next track. If you need a few days, weeks, or even months to come up with a final product you’re happy with, that’s completely normal.
Don’t force yourself to write if you’re not feeling it. The more pressure you put on yourself, the harder it will be to come up with something good. Just relax and let the ideas flow when they come.
Take your time and really think about what you want to say. The best songs are usually the ones that are well-thought-out and carefully crafted.
“It takes time. You might write a hundred bad songs before you write one good one.” – John Lennon
Get Feedback from Others
One of the best ways to improve your songwriting is to get feedback from others. Ask your friends or family members what they think of your new song, and see if there are any areas you can improve.
You can also join a songwriting group or workshop, where you can receive constructive feedback from other writers. This can be a great way to get new perspectives on your songs and learn from other writers.
“I’m always looking for feedback, whether it’s from my friends, family, or fellow songwriters. It’s so important to get different perspectives on your work.” – Taylor Swift
Some other things you may want to consider doing:
-Submit your music to online forums or communities specifically for feedback.
-Attend live performances and talk to the audience after the show to get feedback on your music.
-Work with a music teacher or coach to get feedback on your songs and techniques.
The more you write, the better you’ll become at songwriting. It’s as simple as that.
The more songs you write, the more experience you’ll have, and the easier it will be to come up with new ideas and improve your craft. So don’t be afraid to keep writing, even if not all of your songs are hits.
“I just kept writing and writing, and eventually, I got better at it. The more songs you write, the better you’ll become.” – Ed Sheeran
Steal from the Best
It’s no secret that many of the world’s greatest songwriters have borrowed ideas from other artists. If you’re struggling to come up with something new, try looking at other songs for inspiration.
Listen to your favorite songs and see what makes them special. What is it about the melody, lyrics, or chords that you like? Once you identify what it is, try incorporating those elements into your own song.
Of course, you don’t want to plagiarize someone else’s work. But if you’re inspired by your favorite songs, there’s nothing wrong with using that as a starting point for writing your own track.
You can also try watching movies or reading books – anything that might give you a spark of creativity.
“I’ve always stolen from the best. I steal from every single person that I ever liked.” – John Lennon
So how do we find inspiration? There’s no one answer to that question. It can come from anywhere – a piece of music, a painting, a conversation with a friend, nature, even our own thoughts and experiences. The key is to stay open to it and be ready to seize the moment when it comes.
When we’re in a slump, there are things we can do to help get us out of it. Some might call these “inspiration boosters.” They can include things like taking a walk in nature, listening to music, reading poetry or other works of literature, or simply spending time in silence and contemplation.
“Inspiration is hard to come by. You have to keep your mind open and be ready for it. It can come from anywhere – a piece of music, a painting, a conversation with a friend, nature, even our own thoughts and experiences.” – Alicia Keys
In the end, finding inspiration is an individual journey that each of us must take for ourselves. It’s something that comes in different forms for different people and at different times. The important thing is to stay open to it and let it flow whenever and wherever it may arise.
“You have to be open to inspiration when it comes. It’s like a lightbulb going off in your head. When it happens, you have to be ready to seize the moment.” – Lady Gaga
Learn to break through writer’s block
No one in the music industry or any creative industry for that matter is immune to writer’s block, all artists experience it. When writing music you will face it too from time to time. Even the most successful songwriters go through periods where they can’t seem to come up with anything new.
The good news is that there are ways to break through it. The first step is to understand that having difficulties when songwriting is normal and happens to everyone. It’s not a sign that you’re not good enough or that you should give up songwriting.
Once you accept that writer’s block is a part of the creative songwriting process, it becomes easier to deal with.
What is writer’s block? For many people, it’s a fancy word to describe an elusive condition that seems to strike at random. One minute you’re on a roll, cranking out song after song with ease. The next, you can’t seem to string two words together.
Difficulties with songwriting can be caused by a lack of inspiration or ideas. But it can also be the result of perfectionism, fear, or even fatigue. If you’re struggling to overcome them, here are a few things that might help:
– Take a break: Sometimes the best way to get out of a rut is to take a break. Get up and walk around, go outside, listen to music, or do something completely unrelated to songwriting. Sometimes all you need is a change of scenery or some time to clear your head before the ideas start flowing again.
– Try a different approach: If you’re stuck, it might be time to try a different songwriting method. If you typically write alone, try co-writing with someone else. Or if you’re used to writing lyrics first, try starting with the melody. Sometimes all it takes is a fresh perspective to jumpstart your creativity.
– Set some parameters: One way to overcome writer’s block is to set some parameters for your song. This can be anything from a word count or time limit to a specific genre or style you want to write in. Having constraints can actually help you be more creative because it forces you to work within a specific framework.
– Draw inspiration from other sources: If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, try looking to other sources for inspiration. This could be anything from other songs or pieces of music to books, movies, or art. Sometimes all it takes is a spark of inspiration from another source to get your own creative juices flowing.
Believe in Yourself
One of the most important things for songwriters is to believe in themselves.
It can be easy to doubt your abilities, especially when you’re just starting out. But it’s important to remember that everyone has to start somewhere.
If you don’t believe in your songs, no one else will. So keep writing, and eventually, you’ll find success.
So have faith in yourself and your abilities – you can write great songs! Just keep writing, and eventually, you’ll find success.
“I think the most important thing for a songwriter is to believe in themselves, because it’s easy to get discouraged.” – Carrie Underwood
Bonus tip: Have Fun!
Writing songs should be fun, so make sure to enjoy yourself! So relax and let the music flow – if you’re having fun in your writing process, it will show in your songwriting.
“The best songs come from a place of just having fun and not overthinking it too much.” – Bruno Mars