December 12, 2013  |   Tips & Tricks

Creative Song Writing Tips – Working With Other Writers

A song a day – for life?

Every book you’ll read about writing will tell you the same thing, whether it’s writing songs, screenplays for movies or features for magazines; write something every day. It doesn’t have to be great; it doesn’t really have to be that good. But getting into a routine of spending fifteen minutes or three hours every morning making something new will help you find inspiration and avoid frustration. It’s like training for a marathon, you have to exercise each day or you won’t be able to complete the competition, in our case the song. Sometimes something simple like sticking a little notice on your monitor saying ‘Just Do It’ makes all the difference!

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Working with other writers – some creative song writing tips

Sometimes there’s no better way of staying on top of the songwriting game then writing with other people. In fact, most professional writers do this two or three times a week. I can recommend this activity as a very good way of remaining inspired. If you decide to do this, here are a few things to help you along in your first cowriting session:

  • Know what you’re aiming for in advance: It’s extremely hard to ‘just write’; it’s the songwriter’s equivalent of being asked to write a story ‘about anything you want’.
  • Always have an artist in mind when you’re writing together, even if that artist is just you.
  • Come prepared with some musical ideas. Nothing is more demoralising than a blank page, so prepare some material in advance. Sometimes even a simple chord sequence will suffice, but the more the better. You don’t have to use it; it’s really only a backup strategy.
  • Don’t censor yourself. Sometimes even the daftest ideas can make a great song (Octopuses Garden by The Beatles is a good example). If you’re self-consciously censoring all your ideas before they’ve had a chance to flourish then you’ll be missing a huge amount of potentially excellent material.
  • If your partner has a good idea, run with it. You’re in this together. If your partner is coming out with a stream of excellent ideas, run with them. You both benefit in the end.
  • Make sure you listen to your songwriting partner. It’s often best to work on the basis that nothing gets through to the finished song unless you both approve of it.
  • Make sure your experiments have a purpose. Jamming for hours on end can be fun but doesn’t write songs. Be disciplined with your work.
  • Bad vibes are contagious. Remain cheerful, positive and open as far as you can during a cowrite.
  • And our final song writing tip – if it isn’t working, go to lunch! If nothing’s coming within 2 hours maximum, take a break. There’s no point forcing a cowriting session to work. Have something to eat and come back refreshed and ready to work.

About Rob Cowan

Rob Cowan is CEO at Point Blank Music School