Become A Better Songwriter – Writing From The Title

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This is a pretty simple trick that will help you come up with song ideas. I know we have all spent some time staring at a blank sheet of paper. This is one way to get some ideas out really quickly.
becoming a better songwriter

We all want to become better songwriters! Songwriting is a craft, and in order to do it well, we need to have the proper tools in our toolbox. In today’s post, I am going to discuss one such tool… learning how to generate ideas from a working title. So settle in, grab your thesaurus and rhyming dictionary (you do have these things, yes?), and let’s get started!

This is a pretty simple trick that will help you come up with song ideas. I know we have all spent some time staring at a blank sheet of paper. This is one way to get some ideas out really quickly.

Be The Lyricist

Let’s start with a working title. Off the top of my head, I am going to use “The Long Road Ahead”. A little cliche, and probably used before, but that’s fine.

To use this simple songwriting trick we simply grab each word in the title and do some searching. We’ll start with “Long”. Let’s grab our thesaurus. “Long” can be used as both an adjective and a verb, so I did a quick search on both. In just a few minutes, I have the beginnings of a worksheet with some great ideas.

Adjectives

  • expansive
  • wide
  • widespread
  • outspread
  • stretched out
  • marathon
  • drawn out
  • dragged out
  • spun out
  • strung out
  • without end
  • rambling
  • any minute now
  • shortly
  • in a short time or while.

Verbs

  • burn for
  • thirst
  • hunger
  • crave
  • dream of
  • set one’s heart on
  • set one’s sights on
  • be bent upon
  • have at heart
  • have a mind to
  • fancy
  • hope for
  • yearn for
  • want
  • long for
  • wish for
  • desire

Rhymes

OK awesome! Let’s move on to the rhyming dictionary. Here’s a tip- as much as possible, stay away from perfect rhymes. They can sound forced, and a little cliche more often than not. That said, I collected a few here, as some of them were decent. So, here are rhymes I found for “long”.

  • song
  • strong
  • wrong
  • belong
  • balm
  • calm
  • psalm
  • dawn
  • gone
  • on
  • far-gone
  • foregone
  • head-on
  • upon
  • undergone
  • calmed
  • swamp
  • blonde
  • pond
  • becalmed
  • beyond
  • magic wand
  • restaurant

Write it!

Nice! So, in just another few minutes we also have some nice possible rhymes with one of our title words. In fact, with just what we have collected here, I can take a crack at a line or two:

The road lays out before me
It’s just a little after dawn
I’ve half a mind to turn back
I’ve been out here way too long

-OR-

The road is waiting for me
I been drinking all night long
Trying to save myself with coffee
From this tragic little restaurant

Don’t Judge!

OK, 100% not my best. But, that’s not the point. The point is to get something on paper, get a narrative going, and get your creative juices flowing. This is a draft, remember? In order to become a better songwriter, we have to first- turn off our inner critic, and second – write ALL of the songs! 🙂

And, we have not even gotten to the second and third words in the title! So, that’s the next step! Repeat the process for the next two words, and you will have a bunch more possibilities. Then, pick a few words from your collection that resonate and do searches on THEM. Before you know it, you will have a huge worksheet full of ideas! Importantly, all of these words you collected are related in some way to your title, which gives your songwriting a consistent feeling.

Get to writing

So that’s it! I could go on and on with examples and ideas for lines and phrases, but I want to keep it short here. Just using this one simple trick will help you get ideas going, and get you on your way to becoming a better songwriter! Now go get started!

Happy writing!


Matt Singleton

Matt Singleton

Father, husband, writer, musician, record producer. Student of the warrior spirit. Founder of SMTM Records.

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