How to Write Great Lyrics

Updated on October 24, 2018
Kyle Mcclure profile image

I am a Canadian singer/songwriter who has been writing, recording, and performing music for 10 years.

Sometimes our minds come up blank and it's hard to think of anything unique to write. That's why it's always beneficial to have some guidance. This article will teach you how to write great lyrics and take your songwriting to the next level.

3 Steps to Writing Great Lyrics!

  1. Write what you know.
  2. Learn how to object write
  3. Make use of a thesaurus and rhyming dictionary.

1. Write what you know.

One of the most important aspects of writing anything is that you stay in your lane. Do not sacrifice your unique voice for what you believe to be pop culture. The odds of making it in any entertainment industry are very thin these days and you don't need to hurt your chances even more by taking the soul out of your art. People relate to a message that they sense emotion in. If they truly feel the emotion in your story, they will dive ten times as deep into your song and will come back to hear it again and again.

Writing what you know is very important! But so is having a cool notebook and pen ;)
Writing what you know is very important! But so is having a cool notebook and pen ;)

2. Learn how to object write.

Object writing is a highly valuable skill. It will help you bring out your inner voice in a way you could have never imagined. Object writing is more an exercise than a writing style. It is something you should do daily to improve upon your inclusion of multiple senses in your lyrics.

To object write, pick a topic. It can be anything. My example to get you going will be "Love."

Now that you have your topic, you will set a timer for 5-15 minutes and write using your senses only. Be sure to include what you hear, see, smell, feel, taste, anything that brings your memories together in a personal, descriptive way.

Object Writing Tip

Don't let anything hold you back from just simply writing. The objective of object writing is to learn how to bring out your unique inner voice without judgment.

Be sure to make object writing your own. Me being recently through a tough break-up, my writing on "Love" will not be the same as yours as we have different experiences.
Be sure to make object writing your own. Me being recently through a tough break-up, my writing on "Love" will not be the same as yours as we have different experiences.

3. Make use of a thesaurus and rhyming dictionary.

Using writing tools can be a huge advantage to getting a head start on your new song! When you have an idea on a topic for your song you'll want to come up with a place to start. Often a great way to do this is to start finding words that interest you that are related to your topic and find some great words to rhyme them with. This will help you begin to develop sentence structure and build your vocabulary so that eventually this process will just come naturally to you.

We'll use the topic "Love" once again and pull a bit from the object writing for a few ideas.

As you can see, I've highlighted some words here that were quite descriptive and relevant to the story I want to tell about "Love". I then found words in a thesaurus and some attractive words to rhyme them with.
As you can see, I've highlighted some words here that were quite descriptive and relevant to the story I want to tell about "Love". I then found words in a thesaurus and some attractive words to rhyme them with.

Time to begin forming our sentences.

We've decided to write about something we relate to. We have worked on our sensory imaging in order to bring our unique voice to our words. We have used tools to supplement our imagination, thus giving us more options to dive deep into our creative minds. It's time to start creating a verse for our song. In the future I will write about the structure of songs and how you can uses verses, choruses, bridges, refrains, etc. to bring life to your song. But, for now, let's begin by making an eight line verse. We will take our words from step 3 and create meaning with phrases.

Here's what a few tools and some practice will get you :) This 8 liner took me a little over 3 minutes to write after all the previous preparing we did.
Here's what a few tools and some practice will get you :) This 8 liner took me a little over 3 minutes to write after all the previous preparing we did.

Resources to Check Out!

Well there you have it. I hope this was helpful to all of you! I have included a great book called "Writing Better Lyrics" by Pat Pattison that includes a plethora of wonderful songwriting exercises to help you get started.

If you feel as though this was helpful please comment below and also give me a heads up on my poll of what you'd like to learn next.

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