Songwriting From My Other Self

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.

Happy Writing!

Marty Dodson

SongTown Co-Founder/Hit Songwriter

Marty Dodson

7 thoughts on “Songwriting From My Other Self

  1. Thanks Marty,
    I don’t usually write about things I don’t know about, but I’ll give it a whirl! 😊🎶

  2. Oh yeah, sometimes I put on my purple gloves and a string of pearls
    and write from a woman’s point of view. [ haha ]

  3. I recently completed a “5in5” – 5 songs in 5 days challenge with Sarah Spencer from Song Fancy and one of the days the prompt was “write a song from the perspective of your hands” – lol – it was a really strange request I thought but it was interesting to see all the different takes on that prompt and how creative you have to be to step outside yourself and write from a different perspective.

    These 5 exercises will really strengthen the creative muscles and get those juices flowing!
    🙂

  4. Marty, I love this train of thought and this is actually one of my favorite and most rewarding styles of songwriting I do regularly. But I have come to accept that this kind of songwriting is for me personally and not so much for commercial pitching because I’ve found today less and less contemporary artists are willing to take on the role as “actor”. Today artists seem to be more concerned with their brand and message. I’ve had publishers tell me they love my song but can’t imagine who they could get to sing these types of songs.
    I do realize that there are exceptions, but keep my perspective real; the song is king, and anything else is just gravy.

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