This week Kelly Paige writes again. For more about Kelly, find her and her music at www.kellypaigemusic.com
OK, I hear a lot of this in amateur writers (myself included). You’re writing a song, and you’ve got this great melody and this great idea, and you’re SO excited… The first few lines came so easily and naturally… and quickly… and then all of a sudden you’re stuck… But you’re just SO pumped about the song…. Just quickly write something so you can finish it… you’ll come back to it later… BAM. That right there is your worst enemy. LAZINESS.
Yes, your art is an extension of yourself, and you should let whatever inspiration comes to you freely flow from mind to pen with nothing having to be forced, but understanding the best, most effective way to communicate these thoughts, feelings, or ideas will be key in setting your songs apart. I’m not saying that every line in a song needs to be an immaculately crafted lyric with some deeper, more complex meaning—some of the most beautiful lyrics are also the most simple, but learning how to balance the two is important.
If every line were a simple, literal interpretation of things that have happened to you, it would be quite boring to listen to (or it could be a contemporary country song…). Conversely, a song that’s too complex isn’t likely to hold the attention of your average listener. Nobody wants to listen to a song feeling like they have to study it if they want to stand any chance at enjoying it. Let your muses guide your writing, but dedicate some real time and effort into figuring out the best way to convey your ideas.
Expressing yourself effectively often seems to rely on understanding how to use writing tools. Remember those? We studied them in English class…. If you were paying more attention than I was, you probably remember that writing tools are an essential part of creative writing. The selective use and abandon of them shape an individual’s writing style. Whether you’re a fan of metaphor, conundrums, double entendré, or cliffhangers, these tools are all learned devices that will improve your ability. Of course, be selective in your application of them, don’t go overboard and write a song in some Suessical language that only you can truly understand (or maybe do…
I don’t know…), but make sure you have a good enough understanding of writing tools and how to use them, that you’re able to pull them out whenever you need to. The better you understand them, the easier, and more natural it becomes to use them.
Go read a great book. Go listen to a great song. I’ll bet you they’re in there.
Love it, Kelly! Please feel free to leave a comment for Kelly below…