4 Of the best songwriter techniques

By October 31, 2018Music, Songwriting

As an artist, you’ll know, that sometimes you just can’t find inspiration yourself to write. Writer’s block is real, and like these guys, you might find that sometimes you just can’t find the right words for what you want to say. So, in times like this, what do you do? Download apps, attempt to get yourself into trouble, or simply stare at the cursor as it blinks? Well, we at Zimrii have suffered our fair share of blocked creative moments. Truth is, it can hit us at the worst of times. So, we thought we’d list our top 4 songwriter techniques to unstick your mojo and help you nurture your next great hit.


1. Cut-up technique

If you consider yourself a bad-boy beat poet, then you might already know this champion of songwriter techniques. There’s evidence that the cut-up technique stems back to the 1920s, but no doubt it’s most famous devotee was William Burroughs, who used it to help his creative process.

It was adopted by superstars such as Kurt Cobain, David Bowie and Thom Yorke; who all used the technique to inspire esoteric and unusual lyric combinations in their music. You can even watch a video of Bowie on YouTube!

Its beauty lies in its simplicity; all you need to do is to is write down a series of lines or words, chop them up, and rearrange them. If you’ve ever dallied with fridge poetry, you’ll know what we mean. Most of these artists used the cut-up technique as a start-point to branch off into their songs; but if it produces gold, why knock a good thing?

2. Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages

As with all arts, practice makes perfect. Whatever your take is on the law of attraction, morning pages is a useful creative tool as there’s no wrong way to do it. Cameron has a few basic rules for full effect – for example, you must complete three sides, you must write the pages out with a pen and you must complete the pages first thing after you wake up.

Importantly, you must not show these pages to anyone else. This is your special space, where you’re able to dump whatever may be on your mind at that time of the morning. Be that fears, worries, anger or frustration. When you start, it might feel forced – and if you can’t think of anything to say then you can just write that, over and over. People who practise this daily have been known to report less anxiety and more productivity through the day.

Our creativity is generally stored in our liminal space, that is, the space just outside of your consciousness, and when you brain-dump in the morning you train yourself to access this easily. Keep at it, and who knows what gift the creative gods will give you?

Creating your own music

3.  Challenge yourself to underwrite

John Lennon wrote around a decade of chart-toppers before he sat down at his Steinway piano one chilly morning in 1971 and completed the majority of the song in one session. The wizard of words and songwriter techniques understood the power of the underwrite only once he’d overwritten ten years of beautiful, surrealist lyrics – but if you want to skip your songwriter mojo forward a decade, try imposing a word limit on yourself.

This technique forces you to become more creative with the small tools you do have and makes sure that every word you write counts. After all, why describe your wild dreams to your fans, and tell them you know they dream too, when you can get that across in ten simple words “You may say I’m a dreamer…but I’m not the only one”.

4. Feedback

Last but not least, is feedback. Look. At Zimrii know what it’s like to rip your heart out and nail it into your song. We’ve done it ourselves, a number of times. So, we understand that there can be a want to hold onto your babies for as long as possible. But our last songwriter techniques tip is listen to your feedback. Understand what works in your songs, and what doesn’t quite fly. Adapt and change your output based on the opinions of your fans. After all, they’re the ones buying your songs, so their opinions are important.

Inspired by our songwriter techniques? Great! Make sure you join Zimrii, the innovative music platform that allows you total control of your music business. Using Blockchain technology to register your Copyright and lock-down your ownership, Zimrii uses Smart Contracts and integrated crowdfunding features to help you connect with your audience and earn direct to artist – cutting away the outdated middleperson. It’s the twenty-first century music revolution!

Disclaimer – Although we always endeavour to deliver accurate and insightful information, if you are seeking medical or legal advice, please speak to a professional. All opinions within this blog are the writer’s, should you identify content that is incorrect, please get in contact.

Also published on Medium.

Mo Jalloh

Author Mo Jalloh

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