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Blog Creative Writing Tips: How to Write A Song

Creative Writing Tips: How to Write A Song

By Jenni Harrison | Annual Showcase, Writing Tips

Creative Writing Tips: How to Write A Song

In our latest ‘How To’ guide, we give you some hints and tips on writing song lyrics.

Do you aspire to be the next Ed Sheeran or Olivia Rodrigo as a songwriting superstar? Then read on for some tips on how to create song lyrics.

Parts of a Song
First up you need to understand the structure that makes up a song. They are usually made up of:

Verses: The main parts of a song that make up over 50% of the song. The words in each verse will be mostly different but with the same melody.

Chorus: Often repeated more than once in the song without changing much. This is normally the catchiest part of a song, the part that people remember.

They could also include:

Introduction: The beginning of the song that may sound different to the rest of the song.

Bridge: Usually short, only one or two lines, and sounds different to the verses and chorus. It often leads to a key change or a different part of the song.

If you’re just starting out on your song-writing journey, we recommend using just verses and chorus for now, and when you get more confident you can experiment with adding in a bridge or introduction.

Structure of a Song

Songs are made up of a combination of verses and repeated choruses. You can play around with what works for your song.

A basic structure to start with is AABAB where A is a verse and B is a chorus so it would look like:
Verse 1
Verse 2
Verse 3

What To Write About

The quick answer to this is anything at all! But that’s not very helpful when you’re looking at a blank page, so here are some tips for finding inspiration.

1. Take Notes: Make sure you have a notebook with you wherever you go, so you can jot down any ideas that pop into your head, or phrases or words that you see that inspire you.

2. Pay Attention: There is inspiration all around you in your everyday life: poetry, quotes, conversations, dreams, arguments... Stay alert for words, phrases or topics that could spark a song idea.

3. Stream of Consciousness Exercises: Set a timer for ten minutes and write down anything that comes into your head. Don’t think about it, don’t edit, don’t stop, and don’t worry about what you’re writing. Just let your mind wander, follow your thoughts and write it all down. A lot of it may be useless, but you may find some lyrical gems come out of your subconscious!

4. Study Existing Songs: Look at some of your favourite songs and look at the lyrics, structure, rhythm and rhyme they use. What is it that you like about this song?

5. Think About the Theme: What do you want your song to express? What are you trying to communicate to the listener? Your song might be about your emotions, friendship, an opinion, a message, an event or even a funny anecdote!

6. Read Your Notes: You might have written down a phrase that didn’t lead to a song when you first heard it, but weeks or months later it could be the spark! Keep all your notes and re-read them.

7. Write For Yourself: You won’t be inspired if you’re trying to write a song you think other people will like. Write about what’s important to you, about your opinions or feelings.

8. Keep Writing: The more you write, the more you’ll find what works and what doesn’t. It’s fine if your lyrics aren’t very good at first; the more you write the better you’ll get.

Writing Tips

 Avoid clichés – if your line sounds familiar, then change it. You want your song to be unique and stand out, and it won’t do that if you use clichéd imagery or lyrics.

 Show, don’t tell – don’t tell the listener what they should be feeling, use imagery that makes them feel it!
E.g. ‘I was so sad when you left’ is not as effective as ‘My soul shrank in your absence’.

  Don’t force rhymes – if you’re squeezing in words just to make them rhyme, your song will sound insincere. It’s better to go with no rhyme than forcing it and ending up with a weaker line that doesn’t make much sense.

 Put it away – once you’ve finished writing your song, put it away and don’t look at it for at least 2 weeks. Then when you go back to it you’ll have fresh eyes and will be able to see what could be improved.

Now that you’ve written a song, enter it into our Young Writers’ Annual Showcase competition and you could WIN £100 and a trophy!

Check out our other 'How To' guides for other formats:

How To Write A Book Review
How To Write A Story
How To Write A Blog
How To Write A Script
How To Write An Article

Happy writing!

🌟🌟🌟 Back for 2023, The Young Writers' Annual Showcase 🌟🌟🌟
which celebrates all writing styles and has a 1,000-word limit.

Open to all 4-18 year-olds to showcase their best piece of work; this could be something that's already written or a new piece created especially for entry.

It's a fantastic way to appreciate extended writing on all themes, and a great opportunity for young writers to write at length.

From song lyrics and blog posts to stories, scripts, or an article, we cannot wait to read the work we receive... Find out more here! 

Published: Fri 11th Aug 2023

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