This is a guest post from Praverb of Praverb.net
“You write a hit the same way you write a flop.” – Alan Jay Lerner
The quote above suggests that the process of writing a song does not change the outcome. Knowing whether a song is a hit or a flop is based on the response from the audience.
The actual process of writing a song is something that affects a variety of songwriters. The first line or first words provide a stumbling block. We spend time waiting for inspiration as opposed to chasing or hunting it down.
The lack of motivation or creativity leads to a lot of incomplete songs and a decrease in song writing. What if I told you that I have developed a sure-fire way to jump-start your creativity and thus increase your lyric output?
In order to explore this solution we must examine the factors that affect song writing.
What Factors Affect Song Writing?
There are a variety of factors that have an effect on song writing. I will present a list of four common factors that affect song writing.
- Lack of Inspiration
- Life events
Lack of inspiration, life events, stress, and time are four common factors that affect songwriting. A lot of song writers state that a lack of inspiration affects the process of writing a song. We would rather wait on inspiration then chase it (inspiration is always around us).
Life events and stress are two other factors that affect song writing. Stress affects the song writing process because it affects the ability to transfer the lyric from your mind to the paper due to preoccupation on other things. Life events occur and they can stifle the song writing process as well.
Time is probably the biggest factor that contributes to decreased song writing. Most of us work, most of us are students, some of us have kids, etc. Balancing all the responsibilities is difficult especially when your hobby (song writing) is not really that profitable.
This begs the question, what are the benefits of writing a song?
The benefits of writing a song
“I write a song because I want to. I think the moment you start writing it to make money, you’re starting to kill yourself artistically.” – Pete Seeger
Writing a song is very beneficial because it allows the song writer to let go of pent up emotions. The emotions do not have to necessarily be negative. It has been stated that music is therapy and the actual process of writing a song allows the writer to express that given emotion.
Writing is soothing, calming, and more importantly very personal. Everything that we write down does not have to be shared. That is the beauty of song writing. Imagine having a journal that is truly yours. The journal is comprised of your thoughts, your ideas, your life experiences, and more. This journal relates to photographs and revisiting lyrics creates a visual in your mind and allows you to reminisce.
Writing is very fun as well. A lot of song writers write for the love as opposed to monetary rewards.
How do we increase our song writing skills?
“Music breeds its own inspiration. You can only do it by doing it. You may not feel like it, but you push yourself. It’s a work process. Or just improvise. Something will come.” – Burt Bacharach
We increase our song writing skills by writing daily, experiencing life, learning, and more. Nicholas Tozier suggested that there are 6 Ways to Maintain A Steady Stream of Songs. Nicolas stated that we create new songs when we study our craft, read more, listen more, write every day, set clear goals, and seek advice from peers.
I do not write daily yet I write enough to stay motivated. I actually write down a lot of rhyming words (called rhyming prompts) and I use them when I am stuck. The time factor affects the song writing process so why not break down the process into smaller chunks.
“My songwriting and my style became more complex as I listened, learned, borrowed and stole and put my music together.” – Boz Scaggs
The Solution: Write 4 Lines an hour
“For me, songwriting is something I have to do ritually. I don’t just wait for inspiration; I try to write a little bit every day.” – Sean Lennon
I started using this method last year when I started working on Professional Hobbyist and it increased my lyric output.
Instead of aiming to write 16 lines (or bars, rapper talk haha) a day, I focused on writing 4 lines (or bars) an hour. That’s it! 4 lines an hour. The process proved to be very beneficial because it allowed me to overcome those four factors that affect song writing.
I found that I had a renewed energy, I was inspired, I managed my time better, and the stress was alleviated. Writing 4 lines an hour provided me with the ability to focus on 4 bars at a time as opposed to trying to write a 16 bar verse in one sitting.
I utilized my Rhyming Prompts notebook (book with a look of rhyming phrases) and focused my time and energy on delivering 4 lines at a time.
The good thing about this process is that you can pick the time when you want to write the 4 lines. If you want to write a 16 bar verse then you can space it out over 4 hours.
Here are some of the benefits of writing 4 lines an hour.
- Renewed Inspiration
- Increased time management
- Increased lyric output
Praverb the Wyse is an hip-hop emcee/poet that posts content that is informative and helpful to aspiring artists. You can read more of his material at http://www.praverb.net.