Improving your Craft
For many people, writing about what interests them just pours out. Like many things in life, certain people perform better at certain crafts with less effort than others and at higher levels of performance. No news here. However, writing is both an art and a craft, like music-making is. So if you have some writing ability in you, it can be improved upon by taking certain measures.
It takes a lot of elements to come together for someone to feel comfortable with writing lyrics that resonate. Like the ability to express emotions in a smart, interesting, witty way. The ability to become knowledgeable about subjects that you feel passionate about. Be inspired by events that have taken place or events you have observed. Reading large volumes of written subjects and also write large volumes of subjects you’re interested in, also helps. If writing does not interest you then finding a lyricist you like is what I recommend and it should not be very difficult. Of course now you are venturing into the world of co-writing and its laws and dynamics within, however if your melodies are strong, then they should be put out there.
Topics for Writing Lyrics
I am convinced that subjects in life that interest you should be your focus. It’s just easier to evoke or invoke emotion around subjects that turn you on. Also subjects of great events in your life (marriage, breakup, divorce, child birth, etc). Or events like “you just realized something about life”. Or your recent “political views” or views about sensitive subjects like “abortion” and “gay rights”, etc. These subjects, necessarily will be different as time goes by because different things happen to us as time goes by, and/or we just change our beliefs as we grow older, which helps your repertoire being enriched.
When I write lyrics I do tuck them in so they match the melody, with respect to word positioning, number of syllables, etc. Most of the time the melody drives the lyrics but at the same time I am not super conservative on that either because I always find ways to find room for good lyrical content without majorly affecting the initial melody. Part of being a good craftsman is discovering solutions to technical problems via improvisation and simple wit. Of course, melody refinement and editing continues well within the evolution of a song process, for example, into the vocalist’s acclimation to your song phase, however the main melodic elements stay intact.
Just as in the way I like to sit in front of my piano, (or my controller or synth), put my hands on the keys and start pressing without much thought and analysis, but mostly by connecting my hands to the sound coming out, I equally am fond of sitting at my computer and start writing whatever comes to mind first. Then go through numerous rounds of refinement. I apply rounds of “chiseling around the rough edges” and improving on both my lyrical writing and music creation efforts. Which requires patience, and patience unfortunately, few people are willing to exercise these days.
The difference here made by which factor? Loving what you do. How much do you love what you do?
Gabriel ILiadis is the founder of SongwriterAndProducer.com
He is a solo songwriter, producer based in Washington DC