Songwriting Tips to Help You Start Writing Songs

Man on a rock thinking how to Start writing songsCreate a system to organize your ideas.

Creative people can have trouble trying to stay organized. Being organized will help you start writing songs. Here is a suggestion to help you compile your ideas.

  • Get a large box and pile in every matchbook cover, every bar napkin, every scrap of paper, everything on which you ever scribbled a scrap of lyric or an idea.
  • Get some large manila envelopes and categorize all the bits of ideas that you have, one envelope labeled “Ballad Ideas”, the next labeled “Rock Ideas”, etc. This will help you when you sit down by yourself or with your team to begin writing.

Create a place to work on your writing

The luxury of a professional recording studio is beyond most songwriters reach.  Fortunately there are several options of really inexpensive tape recorders and software packages to help you out in your efforts to begin logging your song ideas. A good environment is vital part of preparing you to start writing songs.

Low tech – Use Pencil and Paper

Get a piece of paper and write down all the things that you need to do to prepare yourself to write. Here are some question you might ask…

  • Is your primary instrument in good repair? If not, get it ready.
  • Are your chops up to snuff? If not, get yourself ready by playing along with every CD that you own.

These simple tools remove barriers that prevent songwriter from the moment where they can start writing songs.

Setting Goals Gives You Focus and a Place to Go

The type of goals you can make could include…

  • The number of songwriting/creative event you will attend.
  • Finding groups and associations that will further your progress
  • Attend seminars
  • Number of song you plan to write.
  • Set a goal with a date or deadline for the completion of your next song. This goal is not designed to put yourself under any kind of pressure, but instead is designed to keep you focused.
  • First performance of your next song. It could be as simple as an open mike night at your favorite coffeehouse, or a small party for your friends.

These are just some suggestions, you will need to come up with ones that best suit your situation.

Go to School

Get to know and understand the art of music and song better by enrolling in a music appreciation class at a local community college. Learn as much as you can about the masters of this craft in order to gain a greater feel for their thought processes.

Making a Demo

At some point you will want to send out demos to artist,  publishers and A&R people.  Set a deadline for mailing out a demo of your songs. The point of this is more to ‘put yourself out there’, as it were than to actually sell or license the first song that you ever wrote. Ask for input and feedback on your efforts. Remember that before you mail anything out, you will need to do the research about the guidelines, submission requirements, and etiquette.

The power of the list

By far the greatest asset is your mailing/email list.  You will need several lists depending on the audience.  Make and keep a list of all the contacts and/or prospects to whom you will be mailing your songs. Get telephone numbers and email addresses for everybody on your list and above all things, follow up on everything that you mail out.

In conclusion, the most important step is taking the initiative that help you start writing songs.  After that you want to make sure that you maintain focus on where you want to go.  Hopefully these ideas will stimulate you in moving your songwriting career forward.

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  • Songwriter Tip:

    Many songwriters begin their work either sitting at a keyboard or picking up a guitar, working out a melodic line and coming up with the chord structure from there. Happily for those among us who are less than skilled at musical instruments, there is an alternative. Try coming up with a bass and drum groove using any one of a number of cheap and abundant software. Many times these simple little ‘grooves’ can kick us in the butt, get us up and out of our chairs, and get the creative juices flowing.