Songwriting

5 Pro Tips To Help You Write Better Song Lyrics

by Marty Dodson
Jun 12, 2016

Write a one sentence summary of your song.

Let’s say my hook is “Must Be Doin’ Somethin’ Right”. My statement of purpose would be “I must be doing something right because I don’t deserve a woman as amazing as you.” When you write the song, be sure that EVERY line in the song supports that one idea. This helps especially if you tend to wander with your lyrics. Make sure you are writing about ONE thing.

Map your song before you start.

If you determine what you want to say in each verse and the chorus BEFORE you start writing, it makes the writing part much easier. In “Must Be Doin’ Somethin’ Right”, the map would look like this:

V1 – There are a lot of ways men can mess up with women and I hope I’m doing OK.

CHORUS – I must be doing something right because you are giving me feedback that says I’m doing well.

V2 – Show me what you like. I’ll do anything to please you.

Once we knew what we wanted to say, we just had to make the story interesting and make it rhyme.

Choose a strong idea with lots of possibilities.

It’s much easier to write a hit from a great idea than it is from a weak one. And, it’s better to have lots of options for directions you could take an idea than to have very limited options.

Don’t settle for weak rhyming lines.

Time and time again, I critique songs that have a great line
followed by a weak line that rhymes with it. Keep working until your rhyming lines are as good or better than the original line.

Read your lyric aloud as if reading a letter.

If you pay close attention as you read you can often catch mistakes on the fly or find pieces that won’t make sense to the listener. Just read it like “Dear Amy, a woman is a mystery, a man just can’t understand…”. You’ll be amazed at what you can catch with this trick!

Happy writing!
Marty Dodson

Marty Dodson

Marty Dodson

Marty Dodson is a multi-hit songwriter, co-founder of SongTown, and co-author of  The Songwriter’s Guide To Mastering Cowriting and Song Building: Mastering Lyric Writing

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