7 ways to start your next song

You’re looking at a blank sheet of paper and it is blankly staring back at you. Call it a serious case of writer’s block or just a routine obstacle. By any name, it’s something we all face.

The good news is, once the first few notes or lyrics are written, the rest can sometimes follow fairly easily. But how do you get over the hurdle of those first few lines?

First off, remember there’s nothing sacred about the first lines you write. They don’t have to be perfect at this stage. Once you have a rough draft, you can always go back and improve the first few lines or even replace them entirely.

The idea is to get something down on paper, a bit of an idea that you can build on, expand on and then you’re off and running. As a wise man once said, “The only way is underway.”

What follows are seven suggestions to help you get those pesky first lines written.

1. Don’t get bogged down in details at the beginning. Instead, let your creative juices flow freely, especially in the early stages. Let your imagination run wild, in all different directions. Eventually you must pick a direction. When that time comes, take the most promising one and pursue it.

2. There’s nothing sacred about your first draft. That goes double for your first few lines. Don’t hold them up to an impossibly high standard. You can always perfect them later.

3. Allow yourself to start with a trite phrase or a cliche. Anything that gets the race horse out of the block will do.

4. Steal a melody fragment from a song in the public domain, like a folk song or even a nursery rhyme. By the time you’re finished, it will have either been replaced or changed enough so as to be unrecognizable. Again the goal is to get something – anything to start you off.

5. Borrow part of a melody from one of your own songs. With new lyrics, new chords and new rhythms, I guarantee it will not sound the same.

6. Don’t worry about rhyme or even exact phrasing. I like to put down an idea and move ahead, even if the phrase is uneven or sounds stilted. I know when the time comes, a better phrase will present itself. If not, I can always tap my vocabulary (or a thesaurus or rhyming dictionary) to smooth things out.

7. Here’s one I use all the time. If you play a chordal instrument like a guitar or keyboard, learn to play a new song. As a guitarist, this invariably teaches me a new way to play a chord or inversion and almost always leads me to a new creation of my own.

Just as appetite comes by eating, so work brings inspiration, if inspiration is not discernible at the beginning. – Igor Stravinsky

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61 Responses to “7 ways to start your next song”

  1. Tails Sterling Says:

    Well im trying to write a song for my gf we’vw been going out for a while but are relationship is rather hard we live far from eachother iv heard a lot of ppl say that long distance relationships dont work out but so far we’ve made it work and i am very happy for that and i wont to rite a song about that but i rly dont have any clue where to start.

    • Sam Cutter Says:

      Hey Talis,
      All I can recommoned is to listen to some love songs that do talk about long distance relationships, y’know, look for inspiration.
      It can sometimes help writing the chorus first, I know this works for some people, as then you’ve got something to base your song on, and so it can relate to the verses.
      Just a bit of advice, hope it helps in some way 😀
      –SamEPCutter

    • Anonymous Says:

      Well you can find inspiration anywhere and find things you love about her or things she loves.Trust me you’ll make a song for her and she’ll love it I’m a 10 year old who watches a lot of tv and reads a lot of books.Good luck 🙂

    • Anonymous Says:

      Well you could write a song about ur long distance relationship like how she’s so far away, yet so close to you. (: I’m just 12 so this probably won’t help… Haha And um… This is 2 years later 

  2. richard pinillios Says:

    FFybvck y

  3. nikki Says:

    don’t even listen to this. it is the worst advise eeeeeeeeeevvvvvvvvvvveeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Seamus nwamama Says:

    How to me a good rapper?

  5. Anonymous Says:

    THIS IS NOT HELPFUL TO ME GOSH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Anonymous Says:

    CAN SOMEONE ELSE HELP ME………………………………..CAUSE THIS IS CONFUSING IM 13 YRS OLD THIS IS TOOOOOO MUCH C’MON IM TRYING TO GET SOMEWHERE WITH THIS HERE PEOPLE

  7. kira Says:

    wtf!!bitch dis dont help shyt!!

  8. Anonymous Says:

    THIS DOES NOT HELP ONE BIT IM 13 AND TRYING TO WRITE A SONG BUT THIS ADVICE DOES NOT HELP
    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Anonymous Says:

      If your trying to write a song find inspiration.I’m also trying to write one so in your free time just write down on a piece of paper ideas.Good luck 🙂

  9. Anonymous Says:

    I’m right there with ya! 14 is a hard age to be extremely creative…
    I thought it would be fun but so far it is super hard…

  10. Anonymous Says:

    Its not that bad its really good advice hes just trying to help people write a song it doesnt mean u have to follow his steps.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    I need to kown how to write a song please.

  12. US Store: Online Shop for all products from top brands. Says:

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    […]7 ways to start your next song « Songwriter’s Tip Jar[…]…

  13. Anonymous Says:

    Not really helpful

  14. ellie Says:

    this is great trying to write a lve song

  15. Lola Says:

    Im writing a song about unicorns.. :I So this isn’t much help

  16. Mollie Says:

    There is no exact way to write a song! You have to put what’s in your heart on paper!its one of the hardest things to do! It takes patient you cant sit down for an hour and expect that your song should be done! It can take weeks and nobody can really tell you the right way to to it. They can put you on the right track tho!

  17. Anonymous Says:

    Here you guys seem confused! Herez some of a song I wrote. It was one of my first so its a little bit off. Its a slow song and its a love song (sorta a brake up song… and yes its true!)

    What were doing is wrong
    But our feelings are strong
    I don’t want to move on
    But I’m ganna be strong
    I love you
    And I know you love me to
    but we have to do what we have to do
    what were doing is illegal
    I’m sick of hiding
    I don’t want to be “that girl”
    But I want to be your girl
    If there was a way to make this work I would
    There’s only one true way
    but I would never ask you to quit
    that’s why I’m leaving you
    r
    “Chorus”
    I’m a child your an adult
    I’m the student
    Your the teacher
    I’m 17 and you 26
    what were doing wrong
    And I don’t want to lie anymore
    But my feelings for you are strong
    and the last year has been amazing
    Your my everything
    but I cant do this any longer

    I’m only young once
    I hate being traped in your appartment
    I hate having to hide my feelings for you
    I wish people knew how special you are
    I want my parents and my friends to be apart of you and me
    I want to go out
    I want to be wild
    But ag the same time what were doing is crazy
    Im sorry but I have to walk away!

    Left this on his desk and switched out of his class and never saw him again…

    • Anonymous Says:

      Omg I’m so sorrry! But wow! What subject was he/her?

    • Alexis Says:

      Do u think that i can steal like the first two or three lines? Please? Its rlly good!!!!!!!!!!

      • songwriterstipjar Says:

        No, you can’t steal lines from someone else’s copyrighted song.

        Here’s what you can do. Start out as if you were going to steal that line. Then continue writing your song using your own original ideas. When finished (or even before), take a second look at the ‘borrowed’ lines. At this point, you should be able to find even better original lines that make sense with your song. Those borrowed lines served their purpose, as a placeholder and an inspiration for the new song.

        If starting with someone else’s line inspires you to write a song, more power to you.

  18. Anonymous Says:

    Wow That suckks 😦 Sorry that had to happen

  19. Anonymous Says:

    but AWESOME SONNG .!(:

  20. Ayla Says:

    How can I start of a song about a guy telling all my secrets and lies?

    • Anonymous Says:

      Its kind of like back in school rules of writing an essay. First line should be the thesis of your poem/song. then just move on from there.

      find me at superadorbjustice@tumblr.com for more advice or help with poem/song/or rap lyrics. I usually can write lyrics pretty easily in any iambs, trochees, spondees, anapests and dactyls meters.

  21. brenna Says:

    writing a song is really hard i cant do it????????????????????????????????????????????????????

    • Anonymous Says:

      Don’t say that you should motivate yourself not bring yourself down.You should sit down on your free time and find inspiration from anywhere.If you want to become someone famous then set your mind to it.If you thought this was good advice then thank you that’s so nice to tell a 10 year old

    • Kalt Says:

      I wanted to learn how to make my own and this does but I wanted a song example. I hope I can pass my music test. I think that you should stay positive, other wize you can’t.

  22. Anonymous Says:

    . okay so im in a group nd i have no ideas how to start it off nd im like the leader so i do EVERYTHING but any ways i just need like 3 sentences and im good please help….

  23. Anonymous Says:

    Don’t think about it, just do your everyday things then just sing anything first things that come to your head, there the meaning full lyrics

  24. Anonymous9 Says:

    Anyone have a bigger case of WB than me??😰

  25. Ceejay Says:

    I always find that if I get blocked and can’t write anything I stop and write a poem or a story of some kind to get my creative juices flowing.

  26. Anonymous Says:

    Write what you feel, love, and/know.
    (1) To start a song maybe you should start it with a sound.
    If you get stuck, what I do is stop and read a book.
    (2) A song is like a story, so in the middle do something like a problem.
    (3) Like I said it’s like a story, so in the end do a solution, and then if you want another sound

  27. Anonymous Says:

    Here is a song that i wrote myself:

    Thud,thud,thud,thud,thud,
    Woo,
    Thud,thud,thud,thud,thud,
    Woo,

    (rap this part)
    Everybody knows that I’m a kindda girl who never fall in love with strangers, it’s my lucky day i guess, everybody has a first,

    Chorus
    My heart goes thud,thud whenever you walk by,
    My head goes boom,boom, I’m not a gonna lie

    (rap this part)
    everybody knows that i like you and you like a girl,

    Chorus
    (rap this part)
    Everybody knows that I’m a kindda girl who never fall in love with strangers, it’s my lucky day i guess, everybody has a firsteverybody knows that i like you and you like a girl.

  28. Anonymous Says:

    If anyone needs a tip for rap, try repetatively using the sounds “T” “D” “B” and “S” I also, try to get the lines to where they just roll off the toung.

  29. Anonymous Says:

    Dope

  30. Anonymous Says:

    i agree no helpful at…………. my band and I are stuck so something else plz 😛

  31. alicia Says:

    Living in a war-zone lost and confused,
    Y u gonna leave me, battered and bruised
    Traffic jam in my head,yeah,
    Thinkin of words i should’a sed
    Chorus
    Every word i say makes me love u more
    My heart gave up when u walked out that door
    And it hurts when ur not with me
    But wat hurts the most ..
    I think ur yesterdays news

    Need to finish de song but comment on dis.. I hope u lyk it… Am only 12 yrs old so plz no harsh comments thanx

  32. Anonymous Says:

    usual i try to start A RAP THEN PULL LINES OUT OF THAT THEN CREATE THE ACTUAL SONG, IF THAt makes sense

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  34. izabellatoumazabella Says:

    Ok dude everyone is trying to get an answer here song entrance 2 ur answers:

    Song name: Staircase (made it up)

    Verse
    oh things that u tell me are mostly a lie and the things that you say u think im 2 dumb to really no but right now it seems like yesterday that u broke my heart in 24 pieces i saw your face but i knew things aint right no things aint right…

    Chorus
    There you are at the staircase ,staring at me guilty and i wondered yea i wondered what was going on and i knew yea i knew that you were with another girl and you told me that it wasent gonna work out ohhh things weren’t gonna work out .

    Verse
    oh mr right you think that u knew me well, Well Guess What i knew it all along and dont tryyy to find ur way outa this no it wont happen againnnnn yeaaaaa

    Chorus
    There you are at the staircase ,staring at me guilty and i wondered yea i wondered what was going on and i knew yea i knew that you were with another girl and you told me that it wasent gonna work out ohhh things weren’t gonna work out No it didnt work out

    Verse
    you got me hooked on your love its hard to let go but now i see yea now i see that your personality was a fake and your heart is poor enough to know that your a… Heartttttt Breakker and i just cant believe that i thought you were gonna be the best thing i ever had.

    Chorus (soft finishing ending)
    There you are at the staircase ,staring at me guilty and now i get the chance to say Goodbyeee.

    Contact me if you need any advice for your future songs 🙂 Izabella xoxo

    Email: bellawella84@hotmail.com

  35. izabellatoumazabella Says:

    Hope that worked for u guys

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  37. Caleb Stewart Says:

    uh y’all all doing it wrong if your going to write a love son or just a song in general but we will go with a love son get a sheet of paper and write down all the things you like about the person in 1 min, and then make up a couple of line up trust me it works be cause this girl i liked just was not feeling it and i did this wrote her a song now every time i am around her she wants me to sing the song here’s a couple of lines i wrote for my ex….

    do me a favor don’t ever come around ,because you only bring heartbreak to town…

    hope you guys can make some thing out of my comment thanks for taking the time to read it…

    Caleb

  38. Nicole Says:

    Ehh I wanna write a song bout’ a boy

  39. Anonymous Says:

    i give up.

  40. Anonymous Says:

    Songs songs songs

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