Okay, so we’ve covered the big ideas of starting a song as a new Songwriter. Now let’s dive into some quick songwriting tips (not rules) that you can use in your next songwriting session.
Brainstorm three song titles a day and save them in one big list.
Stream-of-Consciousness writing as a warmup: just start writing or typing whatever comes into your brain, no filter whatsoever.
Start a song with the title: this can help give your song focus because you’ll be reminded to write to your title.
Outline your song: pick a song structure then outline what will be in each verse, chorus, bridge, and every other section.
Write a bunch of words on a piece of paper, cut them up, and put them back together in a different order. David Bowie explains: “You write down a paragraph or two describing different subjects, creating a kind of ‘story ingredients’ list, I suppose, and then cut the sentences into four or five-word sections, mix ‘em up and reconnect them.”
Play multiple songs at once like Tom Waits did to see if it sparks an idea.
Change the key: “Just take the whole thing and change key, keeping the same melody,” Bob Dylan said. “And see if that brings you any place. More times than not, that will take you down the road.”
Sit in a coffee shop and start typing everything you hear: conversations, drink orders, descriptions of what’s around you — anything and everything.
Take the first few notes of a melody you love and change it to make your own.
Write from someone else’s perspective.
Make the songs personal: “My experience with songwriting is usually so confessional, it’s so drawn from my own life and my own stories,” says Taylor Swift.
Write a song with another Songwriter.