The Art of Speedy Songwriting 7


 

 

This is a guest post from Praverb of Praverb.net

Praverb, The Art of Speedy Songwriting

Song Writing Image retrieved from Blogspot

 

“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
  • Stress
  • Time

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 Art of Speedy SongwritingPraverb 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.


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7 thoughts on “The Art of Speedy Songwriting

  • Leanne Regalla

    Really cool approach, Praverb! Thanks, I’m going to try this. My biggest challenge is time. I have a full-time job, a business, and am a songwriter on top of it. I get the most songs written when I’m on vacation! ;) But I need to cram more in the rest of the time.

    • Praverb

      Hello Leanne,

      Try to give yourself ten minutes every hour during your down time and I am pretty sure that you can knock out a song in like two days.

      This is a fast style that I use…I will have to use it more because my wife is expecting.

  • Angel B

    Awesome post with great tips, I usually have to write a lot of junk out of my head before I write something that sticks and I like. Also usually the first line is the hardest, but once I get going I find my rhythm and flow. Great post guys!

    • Praverb

      Hello Angel B,

      What I usually do is freestyle and freestyle until the first line is awesome haha. It works for me to keep on improvising until something works.

      Recently I have started relying on a poetic approach to songwriting and it has made the writing process easier. I have always been a fan of poetry and most importantly the devices. I use a lot of internal rhyme, alliteration, and other devices for structure.

      Thank you for replying…Seth is the man!

      • Angel B

        Now that you mention it I do sometimes freestyle until the first line is awesome too hahaha that’s pretty funny, my one boy will sometimes record him freestyling jibberish but it helps him write pretty fast to just fill in the words since he isn’t trying to also develop a flow and rhythm at the same time only words.

  • Praverb

    Hello Angel,

    I think that free styling makes it easier to develop that first line. You don’t necessarily have to be very good. Sometimes I will freestyle the chorus while I am recording.