Songwriter - lyrics

Why Lyrics-First Songwriting Processes Are a Good Idea

A song is good if it makes an emotional impact on the listener. So whether you start the songwriting process by coming up with lyrics, chords or melodies, the end result needs to be the same: a piece of music that causes the audience to feel something.

It’s why you’re more likely to find that songs are about issues of love. There’s nothing like love to cause us all to feel something. We’ve been there; we can relate. And we like hearing songs that give us a taste of that feeling again.


Use Your Words! Developing a Lyrics-First Songwriting ProcessUse Your Words! Developing a Lyrics-First Songwriting Process” shows you three different methods for putting the words of your songs front and centre in your process. It’s a FREE add-on to “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting 10-eBook Bundle,” and it’s available NOW.


To say that another way, you can’t really write a song about, say, a fence, unless that fence has come between friends, and then it’s a song about friends, isn’t it?

There are several advantages that become obvious when you start a new song by working out the words:

  1. You can more carefully and precisely control the pacing of a story.
  2. You put a spotlight on the subject matter, and have better control over aspects of good lyrics such as imagery, use of metaphor, etc.
  3. Songwriting legacies often come more from the quality of the lyric than almost any other aspect of composition.
  4. The way words are used can suggest melodic shape, more than the reverse.

I think it’s a good idea for songwriters to have several songs on the go at any one time. This helps keep writer’s block at bay. When you get stuck with one song, you can move to a different one, and come back to the first one later. The time away from that song usually means that you’ll get a flood of ideas when you turn your attention back to it.

So if you’re worried that trying your hand at lyrics-first songwriting is going to slow down your process for a while, having a lyrics-first song as one of 3 or 4 songs you’re working on allows you more time to finish it without feeling unproductive.

Lyrics-first songwriting takes practice, but you’re going to love the eventual benefits. The easiest process to try if you’re new to working on the words of your song first is to come up with a list of possible titles, and then work out a lyric that points to the title.

Give that a try, and I think you’ll be hooked on lyrics-first songwriting processes.


Gary EwerWritten by Gary Ewer. Follow Gary on Twitter

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