For songwriting, as with any kind of writing and indeed any kind of creative pursuit, it is important to remember to create first – think later. It is also imperative to remember that practice makes perfect, as creativity is not always easy. To help we have put together some tools to boost your songwriting creativity.
1. Work to a title
Whether it is something you have heard or read, pick up on a phrase during your day and then use that phrase as a title for a song. Quite often one of the hardest things, when it comes to songwriting, is having somewhere to begin. By getting into the habit of writing to a title, can help you break the songwriting ice as well as giving you the first stepping stone on your songwriting journey.
2. Free writing
Another difficult aspect of songwriting, in addition to having somewhere to begin, is making the time and being there to write. Quite often, when you are there ready to write you are stuck for words. In instances like these try free writing – write anything that comes to your mind. The simple act of writing, whatever it may be, is unbelievably helpful to your creativity. A sentence or a concept may spark an idea which you can then run away with. Also, the simple act of writing everyday helps to improve your writing ability as well!
When writing, try using your senses, as this helps you focus (it can be an ordinary thing) in a slightly different/unusual way – what does it sound like, taste like? This process can help you approach a topic in a different way and is a useful tool when songwriting.
Creativity can not only be hard to spark but hard to maintain too, as often we judge and criticise ourselves too much. Another difficult aspect of writing is making sure that your inspiration does not get overwhelmed by your critiques. One way of helping with this is with a writing partnership, a writing collaboration helps you focus on the positives subsequently aiding creativity. For example, you may have an idea and then in your partnership you can develop this idea – bouncing off each other’s inspiration and creativity – to finish with an even better song than you thought possible. A nice example of a great writing duo is singer-songwriter Carole King and Gerry Goffin, who created numerous hits including ‘(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman’ (Aretha Franklin). Collaborations can also help with writer’s block – which, let’s face it, we have all had at some point – as another person can bring another fresh and new perspective to your music.
4. Change it up
Writer’s block happens to all songwriters and it can be frustrating, however, one of our best pieces of advice to help with it is to change it up – and this change up can be in various of ways. For starters, change the instrument that you typically write on – if you usually write songs on a piano, try a guitar. Another way is to simply move rooms, altering your typical writing environment by putting yourself out of your comfort zone and approaching writing in an unfamiliar way can help with creativity.
Music if often referred to as a worldwide language, something that happens in all cultures; whilst something that occurs worldwide, creativity can be hard. The above tools help you to create first and think later, ultimately improving your songwriting creativity.