by India McCarty

Writing good lyrics is always a struggle, whether you’re a superstar or an artist who’s just starting out. It can be hard to feel that you can measure up to the brilliant lyricists of previous generations, but everyone has to start somewhere! Here are some tips on how to start improving your lyrics!

Study Literary Techniques

Whether it’s poetry or prose, reading the words of others can help you write your own lyrics. Many of the literary techniques used by the masters of poetry and prose are transferable to writing lyrics. You may not have thought about them since your high school English class, but studying these devices – like imagery, alliteration, and internal rhyme – and studying how your favorite songwriters use them for maximum effect is a good way to figure out how to work some literary techniques into your own lyrics.

Use a Thesaurus

If you’ve ever found yourself using the same word over and over again while writing, invest in a thesaurus! Use it to find synonyms for a word or feeling you’re trying to evoke in your songs. You’ll repeat yourself a lot less and you’ll get better at thinking of new ways to phrase things. Not only will the thesaurus help you improve your lyrics, it will increase your vocabulary as well!

Don’t Be Afraid to Re-write

Re-writing is just as important as writing well. Your words aren’t set in stone just because you’ve written them down, so don’t be afraid to make changes! Tweak the little things like syllables, melodies, and words, as well as the big things like verse length and order until you’ve come as close to perfect as you can. Try things a different way! Even if you don’t end up sticking with it, it can give you much-needed perspective on the song you’re working on. Even minor changes can help elevate a song from good to great!

Try Free-Flow Writing

Free flow writing is a great pre-writing technique that can be useful in helping you to get over any inhibitions you might have at the beginning of the writing process. Give yourself a set amount of time and write about whatever comes to mind! Write without stopping to correct spelling, grammar, word choice or meaning. This will help you get your creative juices flowing, and can produce some material for you to later shape into a solid song.

Give It Some Time

If you’re struggling with a lyric and can’t seem to figure out how to make it work, don’t be afraid to put it away for a couple days! Sometimes, the moment you look at it again can give you a little inspiration! You’ll be surprised by how quickly and easily you can modify a lyric that was giving you trouble if you just give yourself some time away from it.

Lyric writing is an art, but it’s also a craft. Bursts of inspiration aren’t enough to carry your lyrics, so you need to do whatever you can to make sure that your lyrics are as strong as they can be. Like any other skill, writing good lyrics requires study and practice, so break out the pencils and paper and get to work!


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