4 Steps of Songwriting – You Have a Song in You

I believe you have a song. I believe everyone has a song, a unique song that no one else can write.

Even if you’ve convinced yourself that you’d never in a million years write a song, I know you can. I’ve worked with so many people who were stuck in ‘negative self-talk-myself-out-of-it-talk’,  only to find out they did have a song in them. Believe me, you have a song. It’s just waiting for you to hear it.

Songs are what we write when our feelings are too hard or confusing or deep to feel.

Try this, hum a note on your out-breath. Inhale, and then when you exhale, make a humming sound. So quiet only you can hear it. That’s the first note of your song. If you want, your whole song can ride on that one note.

If you haven’t read my previous post, “4 Steps to Priming Your Creative Pump” you might want to read that now.
The difference here is that we’ll go through these four concrete stages with the intention of writing a song.

This is my tried and true method, the one I’ve used for myself and shared with others for many years to help them quickly and easily get creative energy moving. I’ve laid it out as simply as I can here in hopes to help you find those meaningful lyrics that will help you bring your song into the world.

Before you begin each step set your intention, remind yourself you’re going to write a song.

Step One
Relax. Breathe. Become aware of your breath, notice air coming in as you inhale and out as you exhale. Notice the rise and fall of your chest area, your lungs.  If the idea of writing a song worries you, stay with the same breathing awareness for a while longer, until you can have the thought you’re writing a song with no stress. Say to yourself, “Everyone has a song, even me.”

Step Two
Take a walk, either outdoors or around your room, or around your mind’s eye (note – mind’s eye requires a good visual imagination) , and observe what’s around you. What objects do you see? What sounds do you hear? What is interesting to you? Let one specific object draw your attention. What attracts your interest? Let it be one thing you feel you’d like to examine closer. Stop wandering and land there,  give your full attention to that object.

Step Three
Spend time with that object. Examine it thoroughly. Collect all the information about the object you can. Experience the object with all your senses, how it looks, smells and tastes, its texture, weight, colour… List all its physical attributes. Then imagine the story behind this object. How did it get here, what’s it doing, where’s it going? Listen to the object, let it tell you what it needs you to know about itself.

Step Four
Take pen to paper. Write down all the details you’ve discovered about your object. Record everything you can remember. When you think you’re done go back to the object and try to get more details. Imagine trying to describe or explain the object to someone who’s never an encountered the object before. Ask your object if there is more you need to know. Keep writing until you’re sure there’s nothing left to write. Don’t stop until you feel finished.

Now you have material for your song lyrics.

You might have begun to hear a bit of melody as you were going through the exercise. You may have a strong idea of what your song is about. You may have a personal memory that has surfaced. Go through your description and pick out the words or sentences that resonate with you. Circle them or write them out on a new page.

Pick up your instrument or recording device and begin to play with your ideas. At this stage there is no such thing as wrong or mistake. All is possibility. The most outrageous idea could be the best. Go with your flow. Write, sing, play, see what emerges. When you get stuck go back to your words.

If you get stuck, go through steps one to four again.

For more information to help you write your song, sign up and receive my Free E-Book “Mining for Gold: Connect to Your Creativity and Write Meaningful Lyrics.” 'Mining for Gold' ebook

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