Writer’s Block, Lyric Lock

What to say, what to say? If you’ve been at a loss for a subject or theme for a song and feel like you have nothing to say, try this. Pick a name from the phone book, imagine what that person’s life is like and base a song on it. You can pick randomly or look for the most interesting name.

I know this sounds totally arbitrary and random, but trust me, once you get started, you will find yourself injecting ideas and opinions from your own experience.

Or try writing an essay on your favorite topic of conversation (or even the first topic that pops into your head), whether it’s a favorite TV show, a favorite band, a proud moment, a pet peeve, a complaint about a neighbor or sibling, praising the political candidate of your choice (or cursing the other side), railing against the establishment (or anti-establishment) or reveling in the beauty of nature.

Once the essay is written, find the most ‘musical’ phrases and use them as the basis of a song.

Ask a question. As songwriters we don’t have to provide all the answers. Even philosophers don’t always do that. What we can do is put into words some of the questions and feelings we have, especially those universal questions that human beings have been asking for millennia, like “Why are we here,’ ‘What is my purpose’ and ‘Is there a God?’

Emotional extremes seem to generate song ideas for a lot of people (like when you’re in love or burned by love). Don’t wait for that to happen. Try to write a love song when you’re in between the two extremes. You might have to resort to a song about your feelings for your dog or child or parent or even a reliable old flannel shirt. Find something you love, appreciate, admire, desire, etc. and write a song about it.


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