Original Ideas on How to Write Song Lyrics

Song lyrics can be inspired by both the external and internal world.

Writing song lyrics is a process that requires a strong understanding of music and formal elements within it. There are several options to help you think outside of the box and begin to write your own original song lyrics. Getting inspired is often difficult. Luckily, there are several methods that can be used to help break through the barrier and create original and fresh lyrics.


Most writers know about a process called brainstorming, but few lyricists use this method as a way to write song lyrics. You can take the basic idea of brainstorming and make it into an original idea simply by changing some of the parameters of the process. Instead of sitting down and writing stream-of-consciousness musings, change the focus and pull out a dictionary. Randomly pick a word from the dictionary and write as many sentences as possible that describe that word in creative and different ways. By doing this you may start to think of new ideas for lyrics and jump-start your brain.


Listen to a tribal drum beat, or a rhythm that you find interesting. Try and figure out the pulse and see if you can find words to match the rhythmic pulse. This will create lyrics that can be used in music that calls for highly rhythmic and pulsating lyrics. If you have ever listened to a person's rhythmic speech you will understand that all language has a certain rhythm to it. If you don't want to listen to a drum beat, trying listening to a foreign language. Sometimes, by taking the words out of the equation it is easier to identify the underlying rhythm.


Use the title in a creative way. If you are using a standard AABA 32-bar song form then each section will have eight bars. Create a title with exactly four words and use each word as the start of each section in the song. This will not only create a piece that has an extra formal component, it will be exciting for your fans that discover this on their own. An alternative to this is to use the letters in each word to create a complete lyrical phrase, like an acronym. For instance, if the first word in the title is "Gone," the lyrics might be "going over numb emotions." You can do this with each eight-bar phrase if you have enough letters in the title.


Rather than writing lyrics that tell a story, use single words to express an emotion for each section of the song. Start with an emotion such as anger and then write one phrase that fits that emotion. Each phrase can be a different emotion that is reflected in the word. To make this work, you will either also have to be a composer or work closely with the composer to ensure that the music fits the lyrics.


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