The Songwriter Forum - songwriting reviews, tips and chat
Advanced Search
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
December 11, 2017, 03:25:48 PM
Anthony Lane - Look what weve become | New album out now
Exciting TV Opportunity For Songwriters - Click Here For More Details:
Pages: [1]   Go Down
Topic Tools  
Read June 04, 2017, 11:00:30 AM #0

Those difficult words


I'm not sure if other people get this but quite often when writing I get to a point with the lyrics (about 90% complete) where the song seems to hinge on the next few words I write. It often centres around the chorus section but can strike anywhere and the words seem to be what will eventually define the real meaning and context behind a song. It can be incredibly frustrating and it can be years before I find something that fits.

So, my question is, what strategies do you use to overcome such a problem? Or do you just decide to move on and start a new project?

These few simple words can hold off even recording a song because there's a small (or large) section that you'll have no words to say.

Just thoughts really. Thanks. Darren
Read June 07, 2017, 10:13:51 PM #1

Re: Those difficult words

Is that what's called writer's block?
Read June 07, 2017, 10:35:14 PM #2

Re: Those difficult words

I sometimes post it on the Lyrics board, describe what I'm trying to do and ask for ideas. I might also read something with a similar theme, looking for inspiration. Or ask a kid (I've done this with success, seriously).

Read June 08, 2017, 02:52:41 AM #3

Re: Those difficult words

You know, I have a confession to make. I joined a poetry writing forum before I found this one, and I've been getting feedback on my lyrics there. They've given some excellent feedback on one of my songs that's helped me make the lyric stronger and more cohesive, so there's one option. They're also very good with words and abstract concepts.
Read June 08, 2017, 01:10:29 PM #4

Re: Those difficult words

I'd say write, write, write. Free writing, object writing, mind maps, whatever. It's far better to select the best from the possible than looking for something killer from scratch...
Read June 08, 2017, 03:40:11 PM #5
The S

Re: Those difficult words

One way to tackle the problem is to NOT see every recording as the final one. It's just what it is, a recording of that moment and time, one version only of your song. You can always re-record it or re-write it as you wish. It is YOUR song after all.

Dylan for example, and many other artists, has recorded lots and lots of different versions of their songs, various tempos and arrangements, and rewritten the lyrics a number of times. That's how you make great songs.

Keep that in mind and it's a lot easier to not fall into the "this has to be perfect" trap.

This of course also applies to the difficult words you talk about. So what if the lyrics are not perfect, if you don't have a set deadline, record the song as good as it is, then put it on the re-write shelf, so you easily can go back and add or subtract later on. That way you at least have a version of the lyrics and can move on to the next one.

My 0.2

« Last Edit: June 08, 2017, 03:49:10 PM by The S »

Read June 18, 2017, 12:41:05 PM #6

Re: Those difficult words


Some fab replies here! Thanks for the insights. I'd never think to ask a kid Vicki but now you mention it seems like a great idea!!

Poetry forum aren't something I'd considered either but now it's mentioned it seems so obvious. I might have a rummage around some poetry forums soon to have a read to see how the poets do it! Thank you for the suggestion.

Thanks adam for your input. I seem to have only one style of writing. I use a journal and basically doodle...but with words instead of lines and shapes (although I do that too). I put words that just come mind down and doodle away until it start to form into something. I hadn't considered added more tools to my arsenal writing sounds fab but scary...what if something nasty and horrible comes out? Tongue and I have never heard of object writing or mind maps so I will have to do some research on these too. I never considered all these tools - just found a way and stuck with that. Time to branch out.

and yes!! Recording...I think I can be too precious about my recording being, well not perfect, but as best as I can make them and I think I have forgotten that the recording process is as much creative as the pre recording bit. The writing doesn't really have to stop before I start recording. Tbh since I've started to record I've tried to capture songs as they exist now (acoustic and vocal) and drop drums bass in around them but I didn't think that maybe I need to have more fun with it and experiment in a way that develops the song.

I got a lot to think about from your replies so am extremely grateful. Thanks for your advise



PS I've had a full on weekend so sorry for any typos etc in my post. I'm too tired to correct them Tongue
« Last Edit: June 18, 2017, 12:43:08 PM by Darren1664 »
Read June 19, 2017, 06:58:01 AM #7

Re: Those difficult words

Too late for this one but I would suggest trying to get your key / pivotal part written FIRST

e.g. If you write your chorus first (which summarises the key idea/theme/emotion/concept etc. of the song) then you can ensure that everything else (verse, bridge, pre-chorus) feeds in to this point

Rather than setting the destination point first - it sounds like you are setting off on the journey not knowing where you are going

Sometimes this is a great approach and you will go on a journey of discovery - but I fear that most of the time you will end up frustrated

A good option for now is to explore some of the "songcraft" techniques to find that missing piece of the puzzle - e.g. Brainstorm/mind map ideas, explore opposites (which often work well - hot/cold, loves to hate etc.), explore smilies and metaphors etc.

Getting advice from the forum is also great advice

I like the poetry idea but I would suggest proceeding with caution and learning the difference between "poetry" and "lyric writing"

They definitely overlap but in my experience when people try to write "poetic" lyrics for a song they often read really well but sound "clunky" when put to music and the meaning/emotion of the lyric can get lost (although this can also be quite genre specific as it may work better for country and folk - but could sound ridiculous for pop)

To check out my music please visit:

Read June 19, 2017, 08:26:08 AM #8

Re: Those difficult words

Listening back and understanding what you're listening to, usually those difficult words will find themselves, but understanding is the key, fully understanding, it can cover huge amount of territory of thoughts, sometimes they fly by us but does that really mean they're gone.

Otherways, search and find in conversation, you be amaze at how many times something might pop into our heads while talking listening, how the hell are we going to write that down but again, fly by us does that really mean they're gone.

Then there's the old understanding way, search and you will find, words of many, the flow is a good place to start   Cool
Read June 20, 2017, 02:22:50 AM #9

Re: Those difficult words

Poetry vs. lyrics, yes, there is a difference and poems need a lot of reworking to become lyrics. I'm sure there are more efficient ways to go about writing songs. In search of tips I ran across this blog post that mentioned taking your main idea of the song, the title or chorus, and writing 1000 words that relate to it without judging or taking a break until you are finished. Then go back and highlight the usable ideas and phrases, and highlight in a different color usable ideas/words/phrases for other songs.

It may sound daunting but 1000 words are only about six paragraphs and not that time-consuming to write. Depending on the subject it might take all of 15 to 30 minutes.

I'm finding a lot of other helpful tips at the above blog, too, like taking your title and writing the song around that, or leaving the line before the chorus unrhymed until after writing the chorus - then go back and focus on writing the line that sets up the chorus. Good stuff for a newbee like me. Just ignore if you're already well-versed in this sort of thing.
Read June 20, 2017, 09:47:17 PM #10

Re: Those difficult words

Hi Darren!

I think I can relate to your situation. To me it sometimes feels like I've lost something and I have to go looking inside my head. Just as if you've lost something at home and you just can't remember where you put it. Thinking about it doesn't help you either, you just have to look. And hopefully one day you find it and it still matters.

As Boydie said an easy way to avoid it is to start at another end. I have done so when I've written for a certain occasion or a situation or a creation but mostly I go for a less structured working process.

The only annoying thing is when you find those five perfect words or that copy of 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' you've been looking for for hours, days, months and it was in a very obvious place from the start.

Read June 22, 2017, 05:27:19 PM #11

Re: Those difficult words


Thanks for the further replies.

Boydie! Some sound advice mate, thank you. My usual approach is to find a chord progression or riff I like and then sing whatever comes to mind. I then jot this down and maybe elaborate a little until soon I see a concept I want to go with. I then use this concept to write the rest of the lyrics and quite often they come pouring out and fit really well. I stumble when I get to the point where I am almost there with the lyric but seem to be missing a line or even just a word and in the past I have had to strip songs back to move forward.

I really appreciate the advise about mind maps etc because although my current methods have yielded results I am happy with I still wander if they could be better (and of course more often a not they can). I think the problem I have with my approach is that I do not explore enough verse and chorus ideas around the theme to really tell the story in the best concise way. I kind of use what I have because it sounds right. Having said all that I have definitely noticed an improvement in my song writing since joining this forum and having my work critiqued.

I see what you're saying with poetry. It doesn't always fit the music and I'm sure there is often a better words to use poetically that just doesn't sound right sung. So although they overlap there is definitely a difference.

Oldbutyet - yes, some wisdom in your words there. It's funny the amount of times that I have sat in front of the PC or with my notebook trying to think of lyrics and I'm really struggling until eventually I need to toilet (or something...) and bam the words come to me! It's like when you lose you keys and they turn up when you stop looking for them. Of course sometimes they are lost and never to be found.

Jenna - I really like that idea of the 1000 word thing. I bet it's great for finding useful lines, phrases etc! I so have to give that a go. I have a blog so I'm tempted to write up on there and see what spills out! Not tonight though - another night when I have more time. That might be my project for my next song Tongue

Martin - Wise words! and yes I relate to that completely. I think we must write in a similar style. I have been writing this way for years and I feel it's time I added more tools to my tool kit! It's quite refreshing trying new angles.

Thanks all for your help replies

Pages: [1]   Go Up
Jump to:  

A Brand New Copy Shoppe project