You Want To Write, But Don't Know What To Write About!

Written by Gary Ewer, from “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” website
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The desire to write may be there, but often we get stuck just trying to come up with a topic. It’s frustrating, because you feel that the world doesn’t need another goopy love song. So how do you come up with something unique that will appeal to listeners?

I’ve been careful to avoid using the word “inspiration” here, because as a songwriter, you need to learn to write even if the inspiration isn’t there. How do you think film-score composers write all that music? If they waited for inspiration, they’d be out of a job.

But inspiration aside, it’s important to be able to come up with topics that will appeal to people, that will speak to them on some level. The thing is, if you are trying to write hit songs, you really can’t stray all that much from the subject of interpersonal relationships. It’s what the 14-24-year-old demographic is thinking about. Today (August 7, ’09), all of the top ten on the Billboard Top 100 are about relationships. It’s to the point now where a song not about relationships is a novelty song!

So if you want to connect, you have to speak the language. But your song doesn’t need to be a simple, “Gee, I really love ‘er” song. Just because you know your song likely has to be some sort of love song doesn’t mean that you need to cop out.

Focusing on words that generate positive or negative emotions, and saying them to yourself in various ways (top to bottom, bottom to top, random, etc.) can get your creative juices flowing:

Basic Love Song

As an exercise, try making up your own list of words on either side of a topic. You’ll find that reading the words to yourself will get your mind working.

Here are some topic ideas to get you going:

Your/his/her child
New lover
Spiritual awareness/belief
His/her picture
His/her attitude
Falling out

For whichever topic you choose, create a list of positive and negative words you associate with that topic.

In any and all topics, the best ones will be topics that involve the singer and another person. Singing about yourself, with no relation to another, just doesn’t resonate with people. The need something (someone) to connect to.

If top-40 type hits are not what you’re trying to write (i.e., if you’re writing something closer to progressive rock, jazz, etc.), your list of potential topics can be further ranging, even a bit obscure.

6 Songwriting E-books“The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” shows you how to write great songs. It’s just one of a suite of 6 songwriting e-books written by Gary Ewer. (His newest e-book, “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting- Chord Progression Formulas” is being offered for free when you purchase any other of his songwriting e-books.) Let these six e-books show you every aspect of how to write great songs! Read more..

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