If you find that you battle songwriter’s block on a somewhat regular basis, here’s something you can try that might help: release yourself from the duty of writing an entire song in a sequential manner.
It’s likely that the part of a song you work out first is the chorus hook. That’s common, because if you don’t have a great hook, it doesn’t much matter what you do in your verse; that chorus really needs to grab attention.
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But it still surprises me the number of songwriters who do it the other way around: work out a verse, then try to come up with a chorus that works well with the verse. While I really believe that there is no one process that stands out as the best one (read my post “Seven Things That Really Matter In Your Songwriting“), there are some things that will make your job harder, and working on the verse before you’ve got an idea of what the chorus might be is usually tricky.
Think of it this way: If you take a picture of a mountain and then show it to someone, their eyes will immediately go to the top of the mountain, not the bottom or middle. In this analogy, the top of the mountain — the bit everyone notices first — is the song’s chorus.
By comparison, a song’s verse can be quite underwhelming (not to say weak or unimpressive), as long as it builds, in a musically exciting way, and connects to the chorus in such a way that the chorus sounds like a logical musical follower to that verse.
The task of writing your verse becomes easier if you know where it’s going to end up. For that reason, working on the chorus first, and getting that sounding the way you want, makes the verse easier to write.
With the songwriting tutorials I’ve given, most writers find the verse harder to get working than the chorus. Having the chorus being a target that’s already been written makes the verse easier, and definitely makes writer’s block easier to deal with.
So if you’ve been trying to write your songs sequentially, starting with the verse, then moving to the chorus, flip it around and work on the chorus first. Not only will your songs be better, you’ll likely find that it speeds up your songwriting in the long run.
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