These three songwriting exercises are designed to get you into the flow of writing without thinking. Your best ideas come from the subconscious, and you can tap into this with regular practice. Remember to do these exercises quickly, spending three minutes on each in rapid fire succession. I set the timer on my iPhone. Don’t judge or question ANYTHING you write down. This isn’t a test! The sole purpose is to train your creative thinking to respond on command. I find it helps to write with pen and paper, instead of typing. A lot of studies show that your brain responds differently when writing, as opposed to typing.
Pen and paper? Timer set? Okay, let’s go!
1.Write down every song title that comes to mind without censoring yourself. Work fast. Spit out titles. No judgement. Go wherever your thoughts take you. (Note: These are you’re own original titles. Not pre-existing song titles!)
2.Choose one of your titles to play word association. Write down every word or phrase that relates to your title. Don’t think! Just work as quickly as possible. This is freeing up your subconscious.
Here is an example of how I free associated one of my Darius Rucker hits.
Title: “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It”
Associations: regrets, missing you, could’ve been, should’ve been, wrong choices, mistakes, do i cross your mind?, looking back, rear view mirror, where are you today
3.Choose a word in your title and play poor man’s rhyming dictionary: write down as many rhymes as you can. Example: My title is “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It,” rhyming the word, “it.” Work your way through the alphabet and add consonants to the beginning of the word. B-it, F-it, Gr-it, H-it, S-it, etc. Not all letters will work, so move quickly to the next. Today there is less emphasis on perfect rhyme so don’t be afraid to cast a wider net: D-itch, W-itch, S-witch. In the example song I used the word “regret” as a rhyme wit “it”. The meaning and the Darius’s delivery made it work beautifully. This exercise will strengthen your rhyming skills so that it becomes second nature. Your goal is to spend less time “thinking” of rhymes while writing.
Congratulations, you did it! Repeat daily!
Write On! ~Clay