If you’re an artist or songwriter, you probably know by now that you will not always find the creativity needed to write lyrics. There are times when you will have no good ideas, other times when you just won’t have the mental energy to write, and times when you just don’t have the time to put the pen to the pad.
Recently, a friend told me about a rapper he knows who always had a large amount of fresh material ready. Whenever he went to the studio he found a beat and very quickly began to piece together what he had previously written down. I asked him what he did differently than other rappers who always seem to struggle with writing lyrics, and he shared a potentially very helpful writing tip:
Instead of writing lyrics only on a song-by-song basis or only to certain beats, he simply wrote down as many lines, concepts and ideas as he could in his notebook during the times he felt his most creative. This way, whenever he is writing to a new song, he refers back to his notebook and pieces segments together. Not ALL of his lyrics come from segments, but many punchlines, concepts, and transitional ideas do.
I’m sure this may be a writing concept which is familiar to many artists (including Lil Wayne, supposedly), but I have a feeling that there is still a good percentage of them who may benefit with this knowledge. The reason I believe this is true is because out of all the artists who come to my studio to record, none of them do this – and many of them have hit severe writer’s block during their studio time.
There are a few reasons I feel this technique can be incredibly useful:
1. First and most importantly, it takes full advantage of your brain’s most efficient writing moments. Nothing is going to waste. If you only write lyrics when working on a specific song, you are likely limiting yourself to a window of both time (from the beginning to the end of the song) and content (your brain is only focused on the subject of the song.)
2. Second, when you compile lyrics this way, you can simply bring your notebook with you when writing a new song and instantly find and piece together lyrics and ideas for the song. Our best ideas come to us when our brains are working most creatively, so you will be armed with only your best material when it is time to write to beats, instead of running into a wall lyrically. Writer’s block will also start to become less of an issue.
3. Third, this writing style will be great for rappers who freestyle. You will always have content to use for cyphers, freestyle sessions or radio promos. Rappers who are always have bars on hand can develop a level of respect from fans and from the music industry which cannot be achieved otherwise.
If I had to anything bad about this style of writing lyrics, it would be that when you write this way, your lyrics may be a bit more sporadic than they would be if you just focused on one song at a time. This is why it may be a good idea to continue writing some of your songs in a more standard way, namely the ones which are based on a very specific and detailed story which require precise lyricism.
However, it would still be a good idea to combine both the standard writing method with the one discussed in this article. This way, you would be armed with an arsenal of supplemental lyrical content while continuing to focus on each song you write.
Hope this helps some of you artists out there.