What most people might not know about me is that I write songs as a hobby. One of my biggest goals is to record an album of all of my best songs. But I’m so indecisive and stubborn I can’t choose which songs I want to put on it and get so worried in-case I write a song that’s amazing and it’s too late.
I’ve been writing songs from a young age. But, of course, the songs I wrote back then weren’t great, they were mostly about not eating my greens, animals and to be honest Cringe. But, as I’ve gotten older with practice and hours writing. I like to think I’m a pro in songwriting. So, let’s get to the steps on a Beginners Guide To Songwriting.
1. Have A Subject
For me, it’s hard to write without a subject or issue in mind. I am usually inspired by events that happen to myself, stories I hear or read, what’s in the news etc.. Of course most songs written have been about love, breakups and heartache. But, I do trying to stay out of the region and write about something different and relatable. This is where inspiration can hit. I’ve written songs based around a newspaper headline, a book I’ve read and pictures I’ve seen and made up stories in my head of that picture.
2. Get Three Notebooks
I know three notebooks sounds quite excessive. But, it’s how I like to organize my songs and ideas. So let me show you the method to my madness:
Notebook 1: Is for your ideas, as true inspiration can strike at any time (bloggers would know) so I like to keep a small notebook on hand all the time to jot down any lyric ideas, themes, stories I’ve heard etc. Top Tip: Use the voice recorder on your phone if a melody or beat strikes (Yes….I’ve been that weird girl walking down the street singing to her phone).
Notebook 2: This is for your draft songs. So you’ve got your topic, you’ve got a few words written down. It’s time to make some magic! But of course, things get scribbled out, words get changed round etc. This is why it’s a draft notebook, so you can make all the mess you want until you’re happy with your finished song.
Notebook 3: This is my pride and joy. It has all my songs written out in my neatest handwriting. In this notebook, I can flick through all my songs and it’s exactly what it is, a songbook and it’s an achievement of your final works.
I love my little organizing system, it keeps everything neat and together.
3. Use Poems or Spoken Word
Now you have your subject, ideas and notebooks, but sometimes it’s hard to put feelings into words (trust me I understand). I felt a pressure to make my words magical and rhyme, almost like a symphony. That feeling stopped my creativity and imagination. So instead of pressuring myself to write a masterpiece, I would just write down my feelings, opinions, and facts in different styles such as poetry, spoken word and journaling. From this I would choose sentences I like, words that stand out or pieces that fit together and I would start writing and it gets the ball rolling.
4. Play That Funky Music
Of course, being a songwriter doesn’t mean you need music, but it helps. I’m lucky enough to be able to play the piano and guitar. But, before I could afford my piano I used online virtual pianos and record them online, it works just as well.
When I began recording the music for my songs I used Garage Band (If you have a Mac) if not it’s simple to download Audacity which is another amazing audio editor. Of course like I said you don’t need to get this technical if you’re just starting out, but it could be something fun to play around with.
Heres a link to a great online piano.
You’ve had your inspiration,
You’ve written them down,
You’ve drafted your song,
You’ve got a melody,
You’ve finalized the song,
Recorded the music.
So, you’re all done! Wrong.
If you’re thinking of taking your songs to open mics or uploading them online, it’s important to get your song copyrighted. Now, don’t worry you don’t have to get a solicitor or do anything complicated. It’s super easy. Write down the full song lyrics, chords, your music sheet (however it’s written). Even put a USB copy of the music track, Date It. Put it in an envelope and send it to yourself., BUT DO NOT OPEN IT! NEVER OPEN IT!
I know it sounds weird, but when the envelope goes through the post it gets stamped with a date also. So, if someone steals your song or melody or anything. You have proof that you wrote the song and melody first. It is known as Poor Man’s Copyright.
So, for every song:
Write everything down and put it on a USB (Include A Date on the paperwork)
Put it in an envelope (Maybe write the title of the song on the back), Post it to yourself
Once it arrives it will have a date on it, Do not open it.
Keep it somewhere safe, keep them all together.
I hope you’ve all enjoyed this post. Let me know in the comments below anything you would like me to go into more depth about. Or any other subject.
If you are a songwriter yourself, let me know in the comments below and I would love to listen to/ read your work!