Writing From My Other Self
Here are some ideas for writing from your other self. Use these exercises to stretch your writing boundaries.
1) 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. I think most of us THINK that we have a good handle on what the opposite gender’s experience is like, but we are not usually as close as we think we are. It can be a great exercise to expand your thinking in this way sometimes.
2) Write a song from a viewpoint with which you disagree.
One time, a friend of mine was frustrated with her lack of activity as a songwriter. She decided just to write a crazy song in which the singer did lots of things that she personally thought were reprehensible. She had fun writing it because she didn’t put any pressure on herself. It turned out that she got the song cut. She believes that getting out of her usual box helped her write something fresh.
3) Imagine yourself in a situation that you have never been in and write about as if you had been there.
We’ve all heard the advice “Write what you know.” While there is some truth in that statement, what most of us “know” is pretty limited. I grew up in a lower middle class, white family in Tennessee. That’s what I know, but I’ve had to learn to write about things I don’t know because I want to reach a larger audience than just people similar to me.
4) 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. Trying to write from someone else’s perspective can often bring up interesting ideas you wouldn’t have thought of ordinarily.
5) Choose an idea and explore the way three different characters might approach the same idea.
Pick the direction that you think more people will relate to. Turning an idea around in your head and shining light on it in different directions can prod you to take the least ordinary and expected angle to something really fresh.
SongTown Co-Founder/Hit Songwriter