As seen in Guitar Girl Magazine Issue 20 – Summer 2022
Do you have any tips about writing lyrics for overcoming writer’s block?
~ Robert Johnson, Burbank, CA
I’ve found that the cure for overcoming writer’s block is just to keep writing consistently. The longer I go without writing, the harder it is for me to write when I go to do it again. Think of it as a muscle: the more you work it out, the stronger it becomes.
Of course, there are times, even when I’m frequently writing, that I have trouble coming up with a theme or concept. That’s when I call upon my past experiences. I’ve loved hard, gotten my heart broken, been unsure of myself, and felt strongly about a number of things, and those are all great sources of inspiration. If you don’t have SOMETHING to write about or say, then maybe you need to get out and experience more of life’s offerings.
Speaking of which, every writer should read and take in other forms of art. Sometimes the well runs dry and you need to fill it up again. I’ve been so inspired by listening to other people’s music, going to a live show, visiting a museum, or having a deep conversation with someone. Open yourself up to the people and the world around you. They can all be characters in your story.
When it comes to writing lyrics, if you’re unsure of what to do or where to start, pick a word or phrase and write around it. I do this, especially when I’m writing music for licensing. Music supervisors are always looking for songs about love, heartache, triumphing over adversity, or going on a journey. They also love buzzwords or commonly used phrases.
Active writing will keep the machine well-oiled, and you’ll notice how much less you’ll experience writer’s block the more you write. Even if you don’t write lyrics every day, write something. Maybe keep a journal or blog, or just jot some notes down in your phone about your day. You can always reference those things again when you’re scratching your head, wondering what to say.