How To Write A Song 2023 – 7 Easy Steps
Whether you’re looking to get started on a new song, or you’ve never written one before, the following guide will teach you how to write a song in 7 simple steps. Let’s get into it!
1. Create A Title For Your Song
This title doesn’t necessarily need to be final. You can always change it later.
But the title is very useful during the songwriting process because it tells you what the song is going to be about.
If you start without a topic focus, it’s like handing a painter a blank canvas and telling them to “paint anything!” They’re going to have to think about it. But if you ask them to paint the scenery in front of them, they can get right to work.
Songwriting is the same way. Limitations can help you work more efficiently.
Another important detail you will want to remember for later – your title is usually your hook. For example, did you know that Rihanna repeats the word “Umbrella” 15 times in her song, “Umbrella?”
It’s true, and a lot of top 40 songs follow this formula. They want their song to be remembered, and they know repetition works!
2. Brainstorm Lyric Ideas
At this point, you don’t need to have all the answers. It’s not a free for all, since you already have your title and focus for the song, but whatever comes to mind in terms of ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and especially personal experiences connected to your topic should all be jotted down.
You can also use our song idea generator if you struggle to think of any.
Avoid censoring yourself. The thing artists do too often is put their experiences through a filter, making judgments about what they can and cannot say. This is not good for the songwriting process, and it can put a ceiling on how good your song turns out.
The good news? What you write down now doesn’t even need to look like lyrics yet. You can always find your rhymes and rhythmic flow later. So, write freely.
The key is to get everything out of your head and onto paper. What do you know about this subject? What do you believe about it? What have you experienced?
3. Organize Your Song Lyrics
Now that you have everything down on paper, you’re ready to organize your lyrics in a meaningful way. But this doesn’t mean your song needs to read like an ordered list.
Notice how a lot of songs move from general in the first verse to more specific in the second and third verses? Or how the second verse builds on the story from the first verse, and the third verse comes with a twist, punchline, or cliffhanger?
This is called song structure.
Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl” is the perfect example. The first and second verse sees the narrator enjoying time with his “brown eyed girl,” but in the third verse, we find him reflecting on the experience years later. And the chorus ties everything together.
Understand that your lyrics don’t need to be on a timeline or in any logical order, though. You can find plenty of songs that don’t follow a straight line.
Take soulDecision’s “Faded” as an example. The lyric, “Couldn’t we do what we did last night again” comes before the lyric, “Thinking about making my move tonight.” Funny – aren’t those out of order?!
Well, we can make up our own mind what the lyrics mean. And that’s honestly the best thing about songwriting. You can leave your songs open to interpretation. Your audience can attach their own meanings to your music.
And some of the greatest songs of all time, like Led Zeppelin’s legendary “Stairway to Heaven,” are open to listener interpretation.
4. Edit Your Song Writing
The secret to great songwriting is editing. And yet this is often left completely out of the equation!
There are many songwriters, even skilled ones, when asked to edit, give you a blank stare and say, “Editing? What do you mean? The lyrics are already written.”
That’s often the difference between an amateur and a pro. A pro can edit!
Here are some questions you can ask to help you write better songs:
- If your song is based on personal experience or real events, how could you dramatize them to make them even more exciting?
- How could you replace “boring” or “uninteresting” words with more powerful ones (e.g., “fight” can turn into “battle” or “war,” “annoying” becomes “unbearable,” “important” becomes “critical,” etc.)?
- What could you do to make the song more emotionally relatable (sometimes general works better than specific)?
5. Come Up With A Melody For Your Song
At this point, you may already have an idea for your song’s melody. But if not, you can start whistling or humming your ideas.
It’s okay if it’s not perfect. That’s not the point. The point is to experiment to get a sense of what you like.
Oftentimes, the lyrics beg for certain melodies. They make you want to sing in a certain way. So, say your lyrics out loud and see what comes out.
6. Find Your Rhythm
As with adding a melody to your song, it’s possible you’ve already found a rhythm that works, or at least have some ideas how it should go.
Again, the lyrics tend to lead the way. They will tell you what kind of rhythm might work.
That said, don’t be afraid to experiment. Sometimes weird and unusual ideas can work, and you don’t want to write them off before you’ve tried them.
7. Record Your Song
Since you’ve probably been working by yourself up to this point, recording yourself accomplishes a couple of things:
First, it gives you a chance to hear the song. It’s one thing to perform it. Quite another to be a listener of it. Once you’ve listened to it, you might come up with changes you want to make.
Second, it prepares you for the next stage of working together with others to make your song a reality. If you know a guitarist, piano player, or producer, you could ask to work with them. If you have a teacher, you could work on the song with them.
If there’s no one you can work with, there are still tools like Hookpad that make it easy for you to sketch out common chord progressions. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!
But your next step will probably be to share you song with others, maybe even release it long-term, so recording your ideas and finding a collaborator is an important next step!
How To Write A Song, Final Thoughts
So that's how to write a song. Want to do more and put your song out there? While it's beyond the scope of this guide, you could:
- Upload your music to Spotify and other digital streaming or download platforms.
- Use an app to get Spotify stats, see what's working, and make future songs to give people what they want based on your findings.
- Rinse and repeat.
As you can see, there's so much you can do with your songs after you write them. Let us know what you do with your song in the comments.
I love music a lot and I am also a composer of music. But I have a little problem with my voice, it cracks whenever I sing. Do you have any ideas to stop this?
I want to write music like Chris Brown. I don’t know how I could possibly do that… Help
Nice advice I’m working on one called fire heart
Someone who went to a music school once told me that there was a term for writing lyrics to a song that makes no sense. Do you know what the term is?
I am a beginer! Which mean I really need help writing songs…
What other than the tips mentioned above do you need help with Laticia?
I wanted to follow my idol’s steps and become an idol and at the same time a song writer, but the thing is I have no idea how to write a song. Sure I am very good at writing poems (not bragging) but I surely need some help at songwriting. So I searched google and found this website. It helped me understand a lot about songwriting. So thank you for for creating this site and i hope you can help even more people understand everything about song writing.
One more thing…. I’m quite confused… does the lyrics of a song have to rhyme?
Hello thanx for the advice really useful as I am a beginner but what about writing a melody? I have a little bit of chorus but I can’t get the melody down. What are your tips and thanx again.
Hi my name is K-Stone and I am 16yrs old. I can sing but to write it down I will practically forget all that I have sung previously. Please, what do i do?
Hi K. Your best best is to keep going over the lyrics on paper for a few days until it’s all in your mind. Do it before bed, and read / sing your lyrics again in the morning. And through the day. Eventually it will stay in your mind with the song on paper.
You should also try and associate some lines of your lyrics with others, so as soon as you sing one line, the other pops into your head. Let us know how it goes after a few days of practicing from the paper. 🙂
I have a problem with my chorus I was trying to compose, here it goes:
Baby I am crazy, o weh,
The way she’s moving say she’s killing me slowly,
Put off ya cloths, am ready o weh,
Having problem with the last line, can anyone help me out?
Hi. I am from India. Shall we start a band? I am searching for people who are interested in singing. If you are interested we will do some songs.
Email: arvide999 @ gmail.com
Hi, Sir. My name is Fidelis from Nigeria, I have never been thought about composing a song but I grew up as a song writer and a singer but what you done has shed more light to me. Please Sir, can I compose a song without a chorus from begining to the end of it?
Hi Fidelis. Yes you can, you don’t need a chorus to make a song. Many rappers don’t use choruses. That said they can help make your song catchy, so make some some have them.
Hi Fidelis. Yes, you can write a song without a chorus. It’s often done, especially in the rap genre. But just so you know, choruses can help make your song catchy and therefore have more people singing and promoting it for you.
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