1) Why do you write songs?
Answering this question will give you the motivation to move forward. It will help define your purpose for songwriting. Knowing the reason why you write songs is a strong motivator. This is especially helpful in those times where you creative energy is low. Know the reason why you write songs.
2) What issues are important to you?
If you spent any time engaged in living on this planet, certain issues will become important to you. Writing from the perspective of what is important to you will give you a base for songwriting. If an issue is important to you, you will also have enthusiasm for that subject. Use that enthusiasm to help move you forward in writing songs you believe in sharing.
3) What do you feel most strongly about in this life?
Although there are many issues that are important to you, knowing which one you feel most strong about provides you with supercharged passion. It is easy to write when you have passion for something. Write songs about those issues you feel most strong about in this life.
4) Do you write about these issues?
In the previous question you discovered what issue you feel most strongly about. Now take a look at your current body of work. Audit these songs to see if you are writing about things you are passionate about.
5) If you don’t write songs about issue you feel strong about, why not?
Examine your motivation for writing songs. If the songs you write don’t reflect your true passion, then try to figure out the reason you are not writing about that subject. Understanding why you chose not to write about important issue will reveal problems that you may need to deal with before moving forward.
6) If you do write song about issue important to you, do you truly capture the emotion of the subject you write?
Songs are used to communicate thoughts and emotions. Chances are if you have passion for a subject the result will be emotional. However, look over your body of work and determine if they communicate emotion to the listener. Emotion comes from word pictures that show rather than tell a story. Look for conflict and resolution in the song’s story. Look for the hero that overcome overwhelming obstacle to reach the prize. Great songs will create emotional response from the listener.
7) Is there any ways you can communicate these issues to make them stronger?
Look at the songs you write and determine if they communicate the issues that are important to you. Figure out ways to make the message stronger. Don’t only rely on inspiration alone. Inspiration needs to be balanced with refinement. That is done by editing and re-writing songs to make them better. Look for ways to make your songs communicate better.
8) Can others relate to your songs?
It is important that people relate to your songs. Songs serve many different purposes. One of the primary purposes is to communicate an emotion story. People support and love things the can relate to. There are so many diverse people in the world. Many of these people group together in like-mindedness. These groups will have similar life experiences, preferences and similar social values. Know who your audience is and how you can reach them in way they relate to your songs. Therefore, examine your songwriting efforts to see if they are relevant to the group of people you serve.
9) Can others feel the emotion of your songs as strongly as you do?
The only way to know if the emotion behind the song works is to share your songs with others. By doing this you can get feedback on your songs. Look for verbal and physical clues when playing the song for someone else. If you are performing in front of an audience analyze the emotional response. If the song you wrote is sad and the people laugh, there is an emotional disconnect regarding how the song communicates. If this happens, you may need to rewrite the song so it shows the right emotion to the audience.
To become better at songwriting requires some self examination. These questions provide you a way to make that examination. As you honestly answer these questions you will gain greater insight and perspective on how you write songs in the future. Knowing the answers to these questions will move you in a positive direction and make the process of writing songs easier.