When you think of writing, what type of works do you think of? Novels? Poetry? Newspaper and magazine articles? Those come to mind first. Rarely do we think of song lyrics as a form of writing. It’s not mainstream stuff. Writing lyrics for music is a whole different world. Many times there’s no plot, just repetition, rhyme, or a beat created by words. Then, of course, there’s the ballad that tells a story, and songs that have a message. As different as they are, writing a book and writing lyrics are the same.
Writer’s block haunts the songwriter and the novelist, alike. One of the mantras that you hear at writing conferences is “just write”. The same is true when writing song lyrics. Don’t get bogged down on how you say it, and don’t worry if the turn of a phrase is not right. It’s more important to get those creative juices flowing. You can always come back later and fine tune. Write what you know or feel. Just as you should read books in the genre that you want to write, listen to music in the genre you want to write lyrics for. The title? It will fall into place sooner or later.
So, here’s the challenge of the day. If all you write are stories, articles, and the like, stretch your creativity – write a song. It doesn’t have to be on par with Carole King, George Harrison, or Lionel Richie. And, so what if you’re not musically inclined. That’s okay. Write the lyrics anyway. Make it a family affair. Ask your children to help you compose the music or ask a friend who has some musical talent. If you get stumped, there are plenty of websites out there that can give you some guidance. Now, go ahead and sing, sing a song.
Janet Cooper Taylor