Guitar and keyboard

Don’t Ignore Your Songwriting Weakness: Make it a Centre Part of Your Process

Every songwriter has an Achilles’ Heel — a weak spot in their writing technique. Surely that shouldn’t surprise us too much. That’s probably a truism that applies to practically anything we do in life: we have the things we do well, and then the things we struggle a bit with.

As you practice that weak part of your technique you should get better over time. But there’s an even better way to solve that one weakest part of your technique: start your songwriting process with that element.

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Here’s how that would work: Let’s say that writing a good lyric has always been the part that frustrates you, to the point where you normally spend 90% of your time on a song working and reworking the lyric.

The best way to get a handle on lyrics is to develop a lyrics-first songwriting process. By starting with lyrics, you naturally put the spotlight on that element of your song, and it takes a position of vital importance to the success of the song.

Lyrics aren’t your weak spot? If it’s chords that give you grief, start your song by improvising chords, trying to get progressions for your verse and chorus, and whatever other optional sections your song might have.

Can’t seem to write a memorable melody? Try singing melodies into your smartphone and work out some of the lyric alongside. When you’ve got a good chunk of melody and lyric, take the next step of developing chord progressions that support that melody.

Whatever element of your song you start with tends to automatically get the most attention from your musical brain. That one fact alone helps to increase your musical prowess in that area, and you’ll find yourself becoming better at a quicker rate.

By starting with the weak element, you fight the temptation to ignore it. And there’s another benefit: you increase the number of songwriting processes you have at your disposal.

So don’t turn your back on the weakest part of your technique. Face it head-on by starting your next song with it.

Gary EwerWritten by Gary Ewer. Follow Gary on Twitter.

Hooks & RiffsHooks and Riffs: How They Grab Attention, Make Songs Memorable, and Build Your Fan Base” shows you how a good hook can make the difference between songwriting success and failure. With great examples from pop music history.

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