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davie

Getting into a lyric writing mindset

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Hey guys,

 

I haven't really posted in this section for a long while. I hope everyone is well. Over the past year or so, I've been primarily focused on working more on the audio recording and production side of things. Though I've made some decent strides in that aspect, nowadays I kinda feel lacking on the lyric writing side of things. It was never my strong suit either, but I feel a bit rusty and maybe a bit uninspired lately. You guys have any advice on how to get back into the lyric writing mindset? Any kind of input is appreciated!

 

Thanks

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That's a personality thing. If life is a generic platter of dispassionate associations for you, don't look within it for inspiration. It isn't there. Don't relate curiosity to inspiration, either. The former is an inquiry colored by objectivity where the latter my have inquiry at its base but objectivity does not drive it.

 

Like painting by numbers, you need to pick a topic that has a universal appeal or one that provides a novel insight into a wholly new reveal. Basically, you need to set yourself up to write, if you're not a gifted wordsmith with naturally occurring prose in each breath, and carry on in a procedural scheme. That's about as attractive as taking out the trash. But, if you begin in that manner and make it a routine part of your day, or integrate it into your senses during waking hours, you can train yourself to be a life observer.

 

Nothing is more annoying than standing as a bus top captive audience to a bird watcher calling the names of each bird he sees. But, he has trained himself to be that observant despite being a witless annoyance. He may be 0-for-2 but the one he does have is well in hand. You also need to be as devoted to observing life so you can reinvent it into the lyrics you don't naturally possess.

 

Paul Simon wrote of his gypsy existence in Homeward Bound. There are no two words or phrases in that song that give us evidence of the poet laureate, but he does take the familiar and render it through his own experience with a street poet's sense of rhyme.

 

For you, you were born and have traveled this far with countless breaths, countless sightings, sounds, feels, smells and touches, and yet you need to know from this forum how to speak of them in the lyrical sense. This tells us there were no inspirational or passionate moments in your life to draw from, or you've cognitively distanced yourself from them, or lack a poet's gift to tell us about them in song. Or, maybe you never perceived the poetry of motion in life as it relates to your own.

 

You've either have a writer's mind or it's waiting to be developed. To develop it you need to begin to use it that way and start seeing the world as a writer would relate it.

Edited by Idunno

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Hey guys,

 

I haven't really posted in this section for a long while. I hope everyone is well. Over the past year or so, I've been primarily focused on working more on the audio recording and production side of things. Though I've made some decent strides in that aspect, nowadays I kinda feel lacking on the lyric writing side of things. It was never my strong suit either, but I feel a bit rusty and maybe a bit uninspired lately. You guys have any advice on how to get back into the lyric writing mindset? Any kind of input is appreciated!

 

Thanks

 

Just do it.

 

Write stuff down, write song titles , write chorus that you can use now or use at a later date.

 

Write down what you think are bad lyrics, write down what you think are good lyrics. Write down a verse, it my lead to a second verse and so on.

 

Some songs will take you 30 minutes to finish, some 30 years, and some you may never finish.

 

If you don't write it down, you have nothing, so write it down.

 

I have a few books on the subject, and it never helped that much. A rhyming dictionary, and thesaurus can be handy.

 

Learn to add words were you normally would not, and take out words you normal would. Stretch a 3 syllable word 4 beats, Work in beats and patterns. Remember your audience. Make them happy , make them sad, make them feel something.

 

I'm not a fan of RAP music, but I must say rappers do a great job with lyrics. It's not great for rock music, but I hope you get the point.

 

 

 

 

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Thanks for all the responses,

 

I think I resonate most with Mikeo's comments. I actually subscribe to all the things in your list throughout my own songwriting.

 

Lately I feel like I've been making progress again with my lyric writing. I realized that a lot of my difficulties nowadays have been due to having a negative view of how I approach lyrics, such as viewing this part of the process as a chore or obstacle. When I began thinking this way I ended up sabotaging my progress. Instead, I changed my way of thinking about it. Now I'm starting to treat my lyric writing process as more of an exploration, experimentation and simply playing with words. Not being too critical with the outcome but also writing with greater intention.

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Thanks for all the responses,

 

I think I resonate most with Mikeo's comments. I actually subscribe to all the things in your list throughout my own songwriting.

 

Lately I feel like I've been making progress again with my lyric writing. I realized that a lot of my difficulties nowadays have been due to having a negative view of how I approach lyrics, such as viewing this part of the process as a chore or obstacle. When I began thinking this way I ended up sabotaging my progress. Instead, I changed my way of thinking about it. Now I'm starting to treat my lyric writing process as more of an exploration, experimentation and simply playing with words. Not being too critical with the outcome but also writing with greater intention.

 

There ya go.

 

Ask yourself what you worked on today for lyrics. Hopefully it was something.

 

Don't be too critical of anything you write, it's not etched in stone, even if you recorded it as a demo.

 

 

 

 

 

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Yup. That's what I was saying. Just do it. Actually, a rhyming dictionary or thesaurus might just slow you down. You already have all the words in your head you need.

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Hey guys,

 

I haven't really posted in this section for a long while. I hope everyone is well. Over the past year or so, I've been primarily focused on working more on the audio recording and production side of things. Though I've made some decent strides in that aspect, nowadays I kinda feel lacking on the lyric writing side of things. It was never my strong suit either, but I feel a bit rusty and maybe a bit uninspired lately. You guys have any advice on how to get back into the lyric writing mindset? Any kind of input is appreciated!

 

Thanks

 

It's obvious that you will be a bit distracted from song writing if you take a long break. Of course, you can regain it. First of all, find a spot where you can get a pleasing atmosphere. I think you can achieve it by practicing a week. Your language will get its beauty when you write regularly.

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. . . Don't be too critical of anything you write' date=' it's not etched in stone, even if you recorded it as a demo.[/quote']

Exactly. If not a pro, and we're all different, but my way is to have an idea, bang out the words quickly, then invest the serious time in the rewrite.

 

The first draft takes about ten minutes to write and just gets the gist of the song. After that, I go back to work on rhyme, scansion, alliteration, assonance, correspondences, oppositions, repitition, and groovy word choice. (And I work on the music, too, of course, but that's not as important.)

 

I only have maybe four or five songs whose words hardly took any revision. They're long ballads that pretty much wrote themselves. And I have two or three songs that had all the original words edited out.

 

But most of my songs go through about ten or twenty rewrites - as Hemingway put it, to get the words right.

Edited by Delmont

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