Let It Flow

Songwriting, like any other art, can be a frustrating and painstaking task. You may not be able to say what you want to say or play what you want to play. The advice that I have for you is to just let it flow. This may be a simple concept to some but it can really aid you in your songwriting.

First lets look at another artist who just let it flow, Michelangelo (not the turtle). Michelangelo, one of the greatest artists of all time, wouldn’t even finish a sculpture if it didn’t “free itself from the stone.” In a way, this is what you want to do. Let’s say you’ve written your guitar part and have something you like, but the song’s guitar part is three verses and the lyrics are two verses.

Your first instinct may be to just write another verse. But ask yourself this question: is that next verse going to fit with the rest of the song? I myself have tried to write a third verse for a two-verse song only to have it ruin the song. What you may want to do is just repeat the first verse in that spot. If that doesn’t fit, have a melodic break or solo over that spot. It’s OK to not have words every second; just play music.

Next I want to look at what I like to call “the songwriter’s drought.” You’ve been sitting at your house going over the same songs over and over. You’re frustrated; you haven’t written in a long time. This can be a trap set by your own mind. This can also be a time to write something without any passion or desire. It’s also a time when you can write the worst music of you life. Writing happens when it happens; you can actually make your “drought” worse by forcing something that really isn’t there. Just wait until that inspiration hits and you will have a song that is ten times better than anything you could have forced.

Last but certainly not least is my favorite way to write a new song. I like to sit down with my guitar in my hand and just start playing different chords and different lead lines until something strikes me. This gives you a chance to experiment with different techniques and to feel the music inside. You can also just start singing with what you’re playing. We all know that some really good songs have been written on the fly, such as tunes by Aaron Lewis. This is just a carefree way of writing. You’re not forcing it, you’re just goofing. I also find this to be a therapeutic way of letting my emotions out.

I know by now you’re probably tired of me saying it, but just let it flow. You’ll feel better, your music will sound better, and you’ll be ecstatic when you hear the results.