The longer I write songs, the more I realize the importance of keeping your songs fresh and mixing things up from time to time. Here are some ways that I do that:
1. Booking 2-way co-writes with my regular co-writers.
Then, I always look for new 3rds to add to the mix. That way, I don’t get too comfortable with my regulars. Adding some “new blood” keeps us from getting into a rut. If I always book writes with the same combination of people, things tend to start to sound similar after a while.
2. Stretch myself.
I’m always trying to learn something new to add to my toolbox. I watch videos and read books on songwriting just to stir the pot and keep myself growing in my craft. One book I found really helpful was “Chord Progressions For Songwriters” by Richard Scott. It’s very technical, but I use it just to explore different chord sequences that I’m not familiar with. It has helped me get out of the box with my chord progressions.
3. Study what is working.
I love to borrow from other genres, so I might take a technique that is working in pop and use it in a country song. Or, I might write a country style lyric for a pop song. Things that are working in any genre of music are worth adding to my toolbox.
4. Learning more about creativity in general.
I like to read off the wall books on creativity that spark me to think differently. One I have read for many years is “A Whack On The Side of The Head” by Roger von Oech https://amzn.to/2uzp0XK. This book gave me some techniques that I often use to spark creative thinking or creative angles on a title. Clay Mills put together a great list I love on 7 Books All Songwriters Should Read.
I’ve discovered that these things really help me keep my songs fresh AND they help me keep a fresh approach to songwriting. When you’ve written over 10 thousand songs, it’s easy to just coast along. I want to stay excited about writing and have fresh songs keep pouring out.
Hopefully, you’ve found something here you can use to keep your writing and songs fresh as well!
Write On, MD