So you’ve been struck with the bug to write music because your significant other just dropped you for the drummer in your old band and you need to get the hurt out! It’s understandable that this would be the natural outlet since you’re the creative sensitive type. However, when you go to put paper to pen your hand cramps up, you get a cold sweat and you think you’re about to get sick. Its writers block and it’s not going to go away until you relax!
One of the first things you need to know in order to write your Magnus Opus is relaxation is the key! If you rush it or schedule time to write it’s a guarantee the outcome will be frustrating and sub par at best. The creative process is supposed to show up at 3:00 in the morning or while you are driving. If you could structure creativity it would be called work, not creativity! When inspiration strikes be prepared to get it down on tape or paper to ensure you don’t lose it. A good tool to use is voice mail. Call yourself and leave a message with the lyrics you’ve just come up with while sitting in traffic. You’ll thank yourself later when you are trying your hardest to remember.
Another great tip to follow is to make the song resemble you. Music is supposed to be an extension of those writing it. There is a reason ZZ Top didn’t name “Cheap Sunglasses” “Sport Sunglasses”. It wouldn’t have fit the little ‘ol’ band from Texas and it would have sounded like something Robert Palmer should have written. If your girl left you for the drummer, that’s what you should write about. The more personal the feelings that you relay in the song the more it will speak to your audience. Neal Young’s voice echoes through time in songs like “Old Man” because he wrote haunting lyrics that possess the power to elicit thought in countless generations spanning just about any nationality. This type of lyrical power has been used by countless song writers and it’s a sure bet that every so often a new song writer will emerge that will be able to harness this power on a regular basis.
Most people think a powerful song or a well written song must have a flow that’s pleasing to the ear and essentially in 4/4 time. If you are writing a power pop radio ready song an easy flowing highly structured 4/4 beat is absolutely the way to go. However, don’t fret if you are off the beaten path. If you’re one of those people that would rather hear ZZ Top sing “Sports Sunglasses” and you’d like to hear it at 160 beats per minute played over top of blast beats and heavily distorted guitars you’ll still find your audience. Be true to the music that moves you and it will be true to your audience. Trying to force the lyrics about how much you hate the drummer that stole your girl into a 4/4 stringed quartet ballad is fail if that’s just not you. If you write aggressive music, then write aggressive music. You’ll get used to people walking away shaking their head in disbelief.
A great song is in the eye of the beholder and to the right listener your song could be the next must have single.
The sole reason a song becomes one of those timeless classics isn’t the structure of the song or the genre that it gets classified in. It’s the feelings that the song provokes inside of people that makes it an instant classic. When you feel in the mood to write, take a few days and get inspiration from the songs that move you. When you’re ready to put paper to pen you’ll find the process much more relaxing, productive and fruitful.