5 Ways To Write Songs Outside The Box


Most of us tend to gravitate toward the same kinds of things when we write.  We write grooves and feels that we like.  And we tend to write topics we like as well. Here are 5 tips for songwriting outside your box. Use these exercises to stretch your writing boundaries.

Write songs from the point of view of the opposite gender from time to time.

Trying to write something that feels honest and real for a woman to say is challenging for me. Every now and then, force yourself to write from the opposite gender’s perspective.

Write a song from a viewpoint with which you disagree.

If we only write what we think and believe, we are going to have a lot of songs about the same things.  You don’t have to ALWAYS write from your perspective.  Try putting yourself in the shoes of someone whom you disagree with.  Write a song from their perspective.

Imagine yourself in a situation that you have never been in and write about as if you had been there.

Research the topic if you need to.  I was writing a song about 4-wheelers one time and had to do a lot of research, because I don’t know much about them personally.  Write a song about doing something you’ve never actually done just to challenge yourself! Song building or blueprinting your ideas can really focus your story and allow the character to shine through.

Become a character.

Write a song that a you think a well know TV or movie character might sing. See how accurately you can imagine their viewpoint. Writing from another character’s perspective will certainly get you outside of your usual box.

Choose an idea and explore the way three different people might approach the same idea.

Pick the direction that you think more people will relate to. Considering different angles for a song before you write is always going to increase your chances of landing on the BEST one.

It’s important to practice songwriting “outside your box” every now and then.  Don’t let yourself get caught in the routine of writing the same old thing.

Write on! MD

Marty Dodson - pro songwriter/instructor - SongTown

Marty Dodson is a multi-hit songwriter, co-founder of SongTown, and co-author of  The Songwriter’s Guide To Mastering Cowriting.

18 thoughts on “5 Ways To Write Songs Outside The Box

  1. I always write from a female perspective. I’m not sure why, but I am more comfortable imagining this than writing from a male perspective. Woody Allen does the same thin with his script writing.

  2. I think picking up a new cowriter helps jeep it fresh too.., or a new genre… or aim at an artist thats different for you

  3. Thank you, Marty:
    There are three aspects to life:
    What you know you know. Like your name, your age, your address.
    What you know you don’t know.
    Like you may not know how to be a rocket scientist, a washer repair expert, a chef..
    Then there is the third aspect: What you don’t know you don’t know..
    This is the one where if you have a comittment to being inquisitive, researching, learning and not assuming, life can become richer, more fulfilling, more fun.
    This is where life can be extraordinary.
    Tedi May

  4. I really like these ideas but I’d at least be a little worried, with my luck, so to speak, that a song I ended up writing from an opposing view become a mega hit and I’d have to spend the rest of my life trying to explain that isn’t really what I believe and condone! 😉 I think I’d rather be unknown than famous for the wrong things.

    1. T-Kib, are ya sayin you don’t want any part of being known for Beyonce’s Single Ladies? Hahaha! What about all the moo-lah’ from it?!! Good to see your post here man!

  5. One wheel up on the road and scannin’ the horizon to lessen the chances of having to dig yourself out. I love it! Thanks for what you do Marty!

  6. Great post Marty. I tend to use a thesaurus a lot! A word you usually associate with something might have more than one meaning when used as an adjective, verb, etc…so a plain title might surprise the listener when its context means something quite different in the song. Surprises and twists get me everytime I hear one thats “outside the box”!

  7. Great one Marty, I actually had been working on a song for the past few months in which is your #1 suggestion, it was difficult at first but came out pretty cool, kinda like a Taylor Swift style type song.

  8. Amen we are worki.g on one now..research and from others prospectives..thank you again for your wisdom Lisa and Pete

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