Cutting to The Root: How to Write Better Lyrics By Being Genuine with Yourself

If you're interested in exploring ways to become a better, fresher, more original song or lyric writer then listen up. G. W. Childs recommends taking a genuine, no BS path. Read on if you dare.  

Like most of the substances we consume, in many cases, music has become just as ‘processed’ as many of the candies, junk foods, and even what’s supposed to be healthy, like "Boca Chicken Patties". (Editor's Note: hmmm, really?) And, because life influences art, many musicians (especially the ones that know how to work an audience) write lyrics with the same intention that food companies make food—How can we get it just sweet enough, and tasty enough to make it where everyone will want it?

While this mode of thinking has brought thousands upon millions of dollars upon all forms of artists—from Hip-Hop gods spouting information on the size of the female lower point of contact, to the virtues of beer after a breakup from hundreds of country artists—it has also led to a rather stale list of subjects. And, when all you hear is stale, all you write is stale. 

Thankfully, artists still appear, occasionally, that have something real to say. And, it tends to be those artists that really do stir the soul and tend to cause movements of their own. But, what’s their secret?

Digging Deep...

Vulnerability is a word often glossed over and hurried past by not just the world of men, but the world of women. We want to feel in control, and we want to feel impervious. This gives us a feeling of comfort in both worlds, where things can happen at any moment. However, it’s often times at our most perceived vulnerability that we not only get a better bead on ourselves, but we also get a better bead on the world around us. Why? Because vulnerability entails:

  • Being in touch with your emotions
  • Being real about what you are capable of and want to do during present circumstances  
  • Knowing you are exposed to attack, and being okay with it
  • A calmer state of being

So, it goes without saying that vulnerability, as a state, has produced many heart-wrenching songs. But, always at a price... 

Here's one way you can become more in touch with your emotions.

Here's one way you can become more in touch with your emotions.

Vulnerability is generally induced through moments of sadness, pain, and anger. This is possibly why so many great musicians tend to have relationship addictions, which is a real addiction, despite what you may think. And, it’s by constantly revolving those relationships that musicians get a clean, and ongoing supply of topics to write about. Unfortunately, this trick has been used so many times over. As a result, we’ve amassed a rather large stable of songs about relationships.

Is There Another Way?

The good news is: you don’t need to chase women, or men, and have constant breakups to achieve a healthy state of vulnerability. In fact, you can actually plan on certain times of day where you can be totally vulnerable, by yourself! Simply by shutting everything off, taking off the shoes, maybe even clothes, if you know that you’re really alone, you can create a feeling of being exposed. Once you’re there, bring in a pad of paper, or the Notes App on an iPhone/iPad and note and explore the topics that come to mind. You may even roll into a patch of things that you really need to deal with. And, from those ‘things dealt with’ you may come up with three pages of song lyrics, that aren’t just meant for filler lyrics. They are real emotions and topics that mean something to you! 


This form of practice can be called many things: meditation, creative think tank, getting away, me time. It can be called anything. And, at first, the results may not be quite as expansive as you may like. But, by setting a time each day, or even once a week, you can begin to explore not only another side of yourself, but another side of yourself as an artist. 

Conclusion

My personal success with this, as an artist, has been critical for my own growth. Not only did it change my style of writing, but it also opened up a vocal ability I didn’t even know I had. Even my programming and production got better! This was mostly due to a shift in my priorities brought about by being vulnerable. I quit caring about building songs to be famous, and that people would like, and I became passionate about creating little pieces of myself that I needed to finish for me. If someone else got a listen, cool. But, it doesn’t really matter anymore. I found a way to be with a real part of myself, and began making songs that finally really meant something to me. 

Improve your songwriting skills with these courses at AskVideo.

Sound Designer, Musician, Author... G.W. Childs has worn many hats. Beginning in the U.S. Army back in 1991, at the age of 18, G.W. began learning electronics, communications and then ultimately audio and video editing from the Department of Defense. Upon leaving the military G.W. went on to work for many exciting companies like Lu... Read More

Discussion

murgatroyd
So if Daniel were to have thunked and then wrote the Psalms while having access to a MacBook Pro and Logic Pro X, … I don't know. 🍻

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