2 Songwriting Techniques To Keep You In Your Creative Flow
I want to share with you my two songwriting techniques to assist you with your songwriting process and keep you in your creative flow.
Whether you’re just starting as a songwriter or have been writing for years, these two little techniques can save you time and prevent you from breaking out of your flow when trying to think of words or synonyms when you’re writing lyrics.
Sometimes we get stuck for words, so these two techniques should help streamline your writing process so that you can finish more songs.
There have been times where I’ve been stuck for one specific word and needed to jump onto Google to find a synonym whilst deep into a songwriting session. This would break me out of my flow and usually distract me, sometimes I’d spend more than 10 minutes searching for a word, and next thing you know, I’m back on Facebook totally distracted!
This is why I always advocate for writing songs with pen and paper because it feels more authentic and keeps me focused on the task.
Technique 1 can assist you with all your future songwriting projects; it’s great to refer back to at any time no matter what stage of the songwriting process you are.
You can implement Technique 2 specifically for the song you’re working on. Usually, it’s easiest if you already have the instrumental to write to.
However, I have also tried Technique 2 back to front with great results; I write down keywords for the kind of vibe I want to create, then I compose based around the “feel” or vibe of the keywords I chose, then refer back to them once I’ve created an instrumental and use those keywords in the lyrics. It can work both ways.
Before you get started, you will need a notepad/paper and a pen (this technique is always best done with pen and paper)
Technique 1 – The Synonyms Reference Page
Get a notebook or a piece of A4 or letter paper. I want you to divide the page into three sections. The three headings for each section will be Positive, Negative & Neutral
The idea for this technique is to write down as many synonyms as you can under each heading that either fit under Positive, Negative or Neutral. Not just any word, the best terms will be the most unique or descriptive words you can find. This will help you with your songwriting process.
Having a synonyms reference page will save time and help spark new ideas without you needing to always refer to Google, which usually distracts you from your creative flow.
Here’s a short example I prepared earlier to get you started:
- Positive: Elevated, sublime, charmed, fascinated, majestic, captivated, elated, royal, opulent
- Negative: Obscene, amorous, volatile, deceptive, perplexing, bizarre, elusive, misleading, addiction, fixation, craving, scathing, enigmatic
- Neutral: Intrigued, curious, tame, inquiring, vapid, vacant, tasteless, empty, vast
You should now have a good idea of where I’m heading with this technique and continue adding words and synonyms; you can use Thesaurus.com to search for more synonyms if you need to. The more you have written down, the more it will help you when you’re ready to refer back to it, and you won’t need to jump on Google in the middle of a songwriting session if you take the time to create a great reference sheet.
Now you can move onto Technique 2.
Technique 2 – Immersion and Execution
Step 1 – Immerse yourself
Listen to the Instrumental with headphones and the lights down if you prefer, you can close your eyes if you want to.
It’s important to ensure you’re not distracted by anything else, and you take this time to completely immerse yourself into the music with no distractions.
Be aware of the “feel” and the emotions that the track wants to evoke from you. Sometimes you will feel it in an instant, other times it may require you to get lost in the track for a couple of minutes.
Take this time to listen to what the track is telling you through the instruments, the melody, and the rhythm. It takes a bit of practice to figure out the story the music is trying to convey.
When you feel something, either an overall mood, vibe, or anything that sparks just one idea or one word, you can move onto the next step.
Step 2- Find your keywords
Write down a few keywords onto paper. Let’s imagine for a moment that the track I was listening to was dark and moody, and I had to come up with keywords after listening to it. These are just a few words that could have came to mind; Twisted, danger, lied, invaded, trust, addicted.
When you’re ready to begin writing, you’ll have your keywords on paper right beside you, and you’ll be able to grab words from it quickly without disrupting your flow.
Once you have come up with a bunch of your own words from the instrumental you were listening to, you can move onto the next step.
Step 3- Writing the song
Now that you’ve done some groundwork, it should be much easier to come up with lyrics for your song.
I would always suggest using real-life experiences because they’re usually easiest to write about. Sometimes I start with experiences, past or present, and then try and tell the story lyrically by mumbling it over the instrumental until I find a melody that sticks.
Using your Synonyms reference page and your keywords, you will now be able to easily refer to these notes to guide you through the songwriting process. Remember, there’s no right or wrong way, and everyone will have their own way of writing.
Each time you want to write a new song, you can start back at Step 1 in Technique 2 and listen to the track and come up with a few new keywords which should help spark some ideas. You will always be able to refer back to your Synonyms in Technique 1, and once you get the hang of it, it will really streamline your songwriting process.
These two Techniques have helped me write songs quickly and efficiently because I no longer sit there for ages trying to come up with one missing word, or words that describe the mood of the song.
I would love to know if these techniques have assisted you in any way, feel free to reach out. Happy songwriting!
About the Author
Noella Nix is a Music Producer, Songwriter & Artist based in Melbourne, Australia. She teaches Sound Production, Music Business & Social Media Marketing and has written 3 Industry eBooks. Connect on Facebook or Instagram