I have to agree 10,000 percent with this quote. I have often read, mostly in interviews with recording artist, things like “I only write when I’m inspired”. I believe this is a myth that some writers and recording artists perpetuate that great songs simply fall from the heavens and only a few chosen ones, like them, are given these gifts. But the real truth is that songwriting is no different than any other skills in life. The more we do it, the more we exercise the muscle, the better we get at creating. Songwriting to me is not really that much of “talent” it’s more of “hard work”. What you need to become a great writer is to practice constantly. The more we play with words and notes, looking at all the possible meanings and emotions, the deeper we understand the possibilities.
“Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.”
– Jane Yolen
Choose a song from the music charts and come up with a response to it. For instance, if the song on the chart is about a man saying, “Why did you leave me?”, I try to write a song from the woman’s point of view that tells why she left him. I brainstorm titles that would convey that idea. I might write “I Couldn’t Take It Anymore” or “You Never Loved Me Anyway”. Brainstorming titles that are responses to current hit songs is a way to come up with lots of creative hooks. In this kind of practice, most likely you’d end up with a great song which if you don’t explain how you came with the title, it can be an acceptable song on it’s own.
Try to write a verse and chorus melody that works with only one chord. We are so used to the typical chord changes in modern music, that we can get in a rut. Taking those changes out of the equation can really force you to write different kinds of melodies. Sometimes I try to write only with one chords, just using different varieties of it. It is a bit limited but if you keep playing with the types of the chord – not even the mode, but just purely the type, like closed or open chord, adding the notes from different octaves, etc – the result will be pretty interesting. Just requires a tremendous amount of creativity and patience for playing around with the chords and find new things.
Write down a sentence that you would actually like to say to someone in your life. Brainstorm titles that would work to convey that message. Sometimes it can come from a quote you would read in a book or on internet, or sometimes it can start from a sentence you literally wish you could say it in someone’s face. Guess what, now you have a voice. You have a platform as a writer, and if you do your craft well enough, there’s a good chance that person will hear what you wanted to tell them. If you’d like to tell an ex love, “I regret letting you go”, you might come up with titles like “Regrets”, “What I Miss The Most”, etc. Writing from a real place in your own life is a great way to up your writing game because it’s easier to write something you feel than to write something you simply make up. In writing the truth, you don’t necessarily need to be 100% honest and you can use lots of metaphors or adding little details for dramatic purposes.
Hangi Tavakoli is our in-house established and professional music producer with more than 15 years of experience in music production, mix and mastering, recording engineering, live sound designing/engineering, lyrics writing and music arrangement. He has produced more than 800 and written more than 2000 published songs to-date, including some major hits in international scale.