Writer’s Block and How to Write Song Lyrics Without Music

Let’s face it! We’ve all faced a writer’s block at some point in our lives; when writing narratives, short stories, poetry or even song structure. For quite a few writers, the most difficult part of this process is when you stare at some blank paper and convince yourself you don’t have anything to write about. So this post is about  Writer’s Block and How to Write Song Lyrics Without Music.

This is your brain’s sensor . . . .the self-critic in you, that takes over and builds the notion called Writer’s Block—preventing you from moving forward or expanding on your writing.

It could be a little comforting to know that also the most experienced writers sometimes suffer from this thing called Writer’s Block. Our most famous literature writers like Leo Tolstoy, Katherine Mansfield, Ernest Hemingway, or Joseph Conrad had their moments of torture as they experienced momentary lapses and inabilities to write.

William Stafford, the famous American poet, offers advice to writers suffering from Writer’s Block:

  • Free your mind and forget about judgment.
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously—write freely.
  • Physical exercise is important to improve mental activity.
  • Create an idea map or clusters of ideas linked together.
  • Catch ideas and write them down as they come to you.
  • Review your writing with close friends or family.

How does a song get started?

If you’re thinking about writing lyrics, melody or chords to begin your songwriting—step back and think twice about the song your planning to write. Begin your song with some title that’s appealing to you. Just make sure that the phrase rings true leaving you wanting more! It will be your guiding principle, . . . your beacon and pole star!

Go ahead and begin looking around for some good song title that you feel has the emotional energy. Action words, short phrases, or images can make good song titles. Check out also some attention-grabbing newspaper headlines as they contain some good possibilities as well. Here’s a few that I’ve recently picked out from the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times: “Dreams on the Edge”, “Ditch the Hotel” or “Good News in Mexico”.

Now you can begin writing down thoughts or ideas related to your chosen song title. Write as fast as you can for about 10-15 minutes, not thinking about judgments but getting as many details as you can. Capturing a combination of phrases, single words, adjectives, and verbs will be helpful later on when you begin piecing your lyrics together.

Go ahead and try it for yourself. Grab some magazine, newspaper, book or search the Internet for interesting phrases that match the idea for your song. Mix or match a few words in between phrases or substitute some of your own phrases or words and try to change pronouns. And when you’ve found a phrase that you feel is catchy enough to write some more about the subject matter of the song, draw a line under or a circle around that particular phrase and Your Writing Genie may come up!