Singer-Songwriter - Recording Studio

Placing Yourself Within Your Song’s Lyric

Do you find that your songs aren’t really making a personal or emotional connection to your listeners? If that’s the case, take a look at the point of view of your lyric, and at least some (perhaps most) of the time it should be placing you as the centre of activity.

In other words, writing in the first person (I, me) should be a default setting. If you don’t do that, then you’re mostly writing about things that are happening to others, without the ability to say specifically how those things are affecting you.

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This isn’t a rule, of course. It is possible to write a good song without placing yourself in the lyric. Story songs are often about an event or situation, perhaps historical, where you didn’t take part, and you’re simply relating the facts (“The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” (Gordon Lightfoot) for example.)

But for songs where you are hoping that audiences feel love, nostalgia, loss, or any other similar emotions, it works very well if you are the one who is centre stage, and that the story of the lyric is being told in the first person.

So that means lots of “I” and “me”, but also consider the power of “you” rather than “he” or “she.” By making it sound like you’re having a conversation with someone about the circumstances described in the lyric, you make it a very personal thing.

When you write that way, audiences find it easy to put themselves in the middle of the story, and at that point it becomes a story about whoever is listening. And that’s your best shot at getting a listener to feel what you were feeling when you wrote it.

Gary EwerWritten by Gary Ewer. Follow Gary on Twitter.

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