All About Songwriting – I’m Back In 2016


Recently I received an inquiry on Google+ asking if All About Songwriting was dead as there was no activity for a while. Well, in a way the enquirer was half right.

All About Songwriting was not necessarily dead but very much in limbo until I had the drive and energy to restart it with some new knowledge as to what to do with it.

I’m not going to delve too much into any personal issues that had prevented me from moving All About Songwriting forward except to say that right now I am in a far better position than I was when I put up my last post for All About Songwriting (January 9th, 2015) and because of that I can say with great confidence that “I’m back!”

I’m back with the internally created and externally curated articles about songwriting and the creative force that drives it and in future posts I can also introduce to you songwriting products, tools and services that will benefit you as much as they have benefited me.

I’m really excited.

As I mentioned in my very first post, I still want All About Songwriting to be a vehicle “… to help all songwriters at any level, expand on what songwriting knowledge they already have or to perhaps help beginning songwriters start off their songwriting journey in the right direction.”

From now on I’ll be able to do that again, so all that is left to say is that it’s all systems go… Let’s get on with it.

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

Four New Year’s Resolutions For Songwriters

2015 New Year celebration

Before I start this first post for 2015 I just wanted to say that I hope everyone has had a wonderful Christmas and that your New Years celebrations didn’t leave you with too much of a hangover.

With that being said I thought I’d start off 2015 with a short but very sweet Cliff Goldmacher article I found called “Four New Year’s Resolutions For Songwriters.”

In his article Cliff lists four worthwhile goals to pursue during 2015 with the sole purpose of expanding your songwriting ideas, insights and opportunities.

About his list Cliff writes…

“There are so many facets to life as a songwriter that there’s always something we can do to move the ball forward. To that end, I’ve listed a few new year’s resolutions starting with the little things and moving up to the big ones.”

The list is as follows…

1. Write down a song title every day
2. Find a new (or first) co-writer
3. Write a song in a genre that’s new to you
4. Don’t give up

For a more detailed explanation of what’s on the list read the full article “Four New Year’s Resolutions For Songwriters.”

The list may look very general and vague but to consistently fulfil what is on the list requires some minimal effort on your part with the pay-off being more songs written plus you’re feeling pretty good about yourself and your songwriting.

While I completely agree with Cliff’s list I also have a few more of my own to share such as…

  • Be open to sharing my music with others
  • Take better care of my non-songwriting self
  • Spend time in my home studio every day

Let me ask you? What songwriting resolutions do you have written down or stored away in your mind? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time, keep on songwriting,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

Read the full article “Four New Year’s Resolutions For Songwriters.”

Songwriting Help – Some Ways To Improve Your Overall Songwriting Ability


Here are some ideas I’ve picked up lately on how you can improve your overall songwriting ability.

It’s amazing how the smallest changes to your routine can make the biggest differences

1. Listen To Music

It sounds simple enough but by immersing yourself in the music of others you’re allowing the music to flow through you and the stuff that you really like will unconsciously latch onto your psyche and come out in your own songwriting later on.

2. Don’t Listen To Music

The other side of the coin… There will be times where silence, not music is needed to soothe the soul and when these moments happen immerse yourself in the silence. This is an opportunity for your subconscious to process information or for you to meditate. Either way, silence is sometimes a great way to invite the muse into your world

3. Keep A Digital Recorder With You

Whether this be your smartphone or something purpose built, always get into the habit of being ready to record anything that pops into your head while you go about your daily business because you never know where your next songwriting idea will come from.

4. Watch A Movie/TV With The Sound Off

It’s amazing what you pick up when your senses are less distracted. Watching a movie or the TV with the sound off and a notepad at the ready allows your imagination to fill in the gaps.

I also use it as an opportunity to practise some guitar at the same time. This multitasking can muck around with your brain al little bit but persist with it and you’ll find that the results are worth the effort.

5. Jam With Other Songwriters/Musicians

Always look for an opportunity to get together with other people and just jam for jamming sake. You don’t necessarily have to have a formal agenda attached to it.

Jamming with others allows you to be exposed to other influences plus it keeps your improvisational skills in check and who knows, you might stumble onto a songwriting idea worth exploring.

6. Find Some Songwriting/Musical Allies

Having some songwriting/musical allies in your corner will go a long way to sustaining your motivation. No matter where they come from (friends, family, mentors) the most important thing about these allies is that they are able to provide you constructive feedback without being either too patronising or fake in their praise.

7. Read Books, Poems And Stories

If listening to music infuses musical ideas into your songwriting then it would make sense to say that reading books would infuse lyrical ideas in the same way. By reading the words of others and utilising your imagination filtered through your own experiences, you’ll be putting a new spin on what you read and who knows… A song might come from that.

8. Challenge Yourself To Write Something Every Day

It’s all about creating discipline in your songwriting practise. I’m not saying that you necessarily write a song every day but to really get your songwriting process flowing you need to write at least something every day.

A list of possible song titles, a verse/chorus, a blog post, a poem, some free writing. Even if it’s just a few lines, anything will do.

Do you have some favourite things you like to do to keep the songwriting fires burning? Let me know and I might write a post about it.

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

How Keeping A Journal Helps My Songwriting Process


Do you keep a journal? If not, you should.

For me, keeping a journal is one of the best ways to keep my songwriting process in check and flowing with creativity.

Keeping a journal means many things to many people.

It can be a detailed snapshot of daily life as portrayed in the film “Bridget Jones’ Diary” or, it can be more of a stream of consciousness concept as mentioned in Julia Cameron’s groundbreaking book on the creative process called “The Artist’s Way.”

For me, I think the stream of consciousness idea is a much more effective way of gathering songwriting ideas. Just being able to empty my brain of all its information accumulated throughout the day onto a blank piece of paper is, really beneficial.

I look at my journal as a loyal friend who’s always there to listen to my problems and share in my hopes, dreams, questions, thoughts, feelings and aspirations.

I really find the physical act of writing down whatever’s on my mind a very cathartic experience.

The more I write, the more a weight lifts off my shoulders. The more I clear my mind of its trivial clutter the more room I have for all the good songwriting stuff.

Writing in my journal every day has enabled me to get to know myself a whole lot better. Now here’s where I’ve found the real benefits to my songwriting come into play.

I’m always amazed by the sheer volume of information I accumulate after I start journalling. It constantly shows that I do actually have something to write about.

Now, after about four to six weeks of journalling I start re-reading my entries. It’s then that I start getting some flashes of inspiration here and there.

These flashes are the beginnings of new songs.

The longer I read my journal entries the initial flashes of inspiration I experience at the beginning start turning into songwriting ideas that pop up from the page and grab me by the scruff of my neck.

I know this happens because I would hear myself thinking “wow, that would make a great song title” or “wow, I really like that line.”

It’s at this time my highlighting pen becomes my best friend. I start highlighting all the good stuff

I’ve been a regular journal writer for many years and the inspiration to keep a journal waxes and wanes but my re-reading process has always been the same.

After a few weeks of journalling I re-read my entries and furiously highlight all of the potential songwriting ideas and then work on them at a later date.

I’m constantly amazed at how easily a song manifests itself to me by doing this technique. It’s really wonderful what you come up with when you just allow yourself to write.

If you’re already writing a journal then keep at it but if you are thinking of giving journalling a go just do it. Start it today and I promise you, you’ll not regret it one little bit.

Until next time, happy (journal) writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

Using Peak Hour Traffic To Your Songwriting Advantage


How about this for a songwriting exercise!

The next time you find yourself stuck in peak hour traffic, instead of feeling frustrated, stressed and angry about the situation, use the time at hand to manifest songwriting ideas in your head.

I do this all the time and some of my best songwriting ideas come from utilising my downtime effectively. It is a much better use of your time and energy than stressing out over events that you have no control over.

I would use the scenery around me as reference points to get my creative juices flowing. Some general things to focus on would be…

  • The weather – How does it make me feel?
  • People in cars – What were they thinking?
  • Buildings – Any landmarks nearby?
  • How am I feeling right now?
  • What am I doing this weekend?
  • What did I do last weekend?

In theory, once I’ve developed something I’m happy to record, I just use the voice recorder function on my iPhone to put down the songwriting idea for future reference.

Of course I don’t use my phone while I’m driving.

You could use this concept in any situation where you find yourself waiting for something. Examples that come to mind would include:

  • Bank queues
  • Train crossings
  • Doctors surgery
  • Public transport

If you any other suggestions? Let me know, I’d love to hear them.

Imagine what would happen if every songwriter used these particular times to their advantage rather than to their detriment?

There would be hardly any road rage, less stress and we would be more tolerant, patient and almost looking forward to these occasions just so we can give ourselves some time to spend with the muse.

We all have the time to write. We just have to be creative with how we find it.

Until next time, happy writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

How To Use A Thesaurus To Conquer Songwriters Block


I believe that as songwriters we need to do whatever it takes to get our songwriting ideas out of our heads, onto paper and out into the world for everyone to hear.

I started All About Songwriting to document the different songwriting tips and techniques that I’ve picked up along the way.

An example of some quality information that I found online is this article by Orlando Gutierrez from, detailing the way he uses a thesaurus to help him write songs.

The article is called “Songwriting Help For Songwriters’ Block”. I hope you get as much out of it as I did.

Songwriting Help For Songwriters’ Block
By Orlando Gutierrez

Few songwriters use thesauruses during the songwriting process, thinking it’s either a form of cheating, it ruins their natural creativity making lyrics sound forced, or simply because they don’t own a copy of one!

But a thesaurus offers the most songwriting help when it comes to songwriters block and there are actually several techniques on how to use it.

First, I assure you it’s not a form of cheating and furthermore, when used properly, a handful of related words fished from a thesaurus for a given theme can open your mind up to possibilities you would never think of on your own.

Guess what happens after that? Yep, your natural creativity follows, springing ideas from each useful word you can find.

Plain lines become original and interesting, small ideas turn into larger ones with perhaps alternate story lines or feelings for your song themes, and you ultimately become more and more creative on your own as you write each song.

I call that totally original with a helpful push!

By using a thesaurus correctly, you can actually get rid of writers block. Understand, however, that you’re going to have better songwriting sessions than others, but you will certainly not fall into writers block!

Next time you proclaim, “Help, I’ve got songwriters block. I need some songwriting help,” don’t feel so frustrated. We’ve all been there and share your pain.

Use this awesome “use-a-thesaurus-to-get-rid-of-writers-block” tip to get you started on the right track, and you’ll be on your way to getting rid of songwriters block forever:

1. Pick a theme for your song. (i.e., let’s say your song theme is something plain like, “I feel so alive because I’m in love with this person”).

2. Pick an interesting or even bland word from your song theme (i.e., the words feel, alive, and love stand out, so we’ll pick the most interesting one first- “alive”). Don’t worry if the original word is bland.

One average word brings others to life!

3. Look in your physical copy of your thesaurus or use an online thesaurus such as Rhymezone, and find related words to the word “alive” while thinking of your theme.

These are the related words I found in Rhymezone:

  • aware
  • awake
  • vital
  • give
  • exist
  • breathing
  • life
  • remember

4. Now write down these words in a single column on the left side of a paper.

5. Repeat the process with every single related word retrieved from the word “alive”, starting with “aware”, keep building your word list , and keep writing each word until you have two to four columns.

6. Now you have a worksheet to pick words from, which will naturally spring ideas as they relate to your song theme!

As an example let’s review the original words we found on Rhymezone from the word “alive”: aware, awake, vital, give, exist, breathing, life, remember.

Here are four original, interesting lines quickly sprung from this process:

  • I keep staying awake
  • Too aware of my breathing
  • My pulse is amplifying
  • Everything I’m feeling

It took less than one minute. These lines are definitely keepers and can definitely be the start of a solid song. There are some added words not on the list (last two lines), but that’s the whole idea!

These words naturally came to me by using the other words. Mr. Thesaurus once again to the rescue!

About The Author

Orlando Gutierrez is a former Warner/Chappell Staff songwriter who dedicates most of his time to his website,, in order to provide innovative songwriting tips and techniques to give songwriters an edge over the competition in an ever-changing music industry.

Look at the free 7-step songwriting blueprint, and sign up for your free monthly newsletter “Tune Sleuth” today at

I’ve always felt that if used correctly, a thesaurus could be a really powerful songwriting tool but after reading this article I now know that a thesaurus needs to be part of an essential suite of tools you use in your songwriting process.

Just in case you feel a little blocked from time to time.

Until next time, happy writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

Any Songwriters Wishing To Collaborate? Let Me Know!


Let me cut to the chase here. I want to work with lyricists, poets, writers and other creative individuals.

Are you out there? If you are, I’d love to talk with you.

I’ve been taking a dip in the collaboration pool for a little while now and I’m loving it.

You see, I’m at the point in my songwriting where I’m very comfortable either writing songs by myself or with others but I still think that collaborating with others is the next step in my development as a songwriter.

I want to be able to shape songs out of different points of view and be challenged by sonically interpreting the experiences of others.

The first of two main challenges I have in my songwriting process at the moment is lyric writing. I’m working on it but I learn so much more from working with other lyricists.

This admission may seem strange coming from someone like me who has written a lot about lyric writing and song idea gathering tips in earlier posts but I do try to practise what I preach.

I do write down the phrases I hear in conversation, I record all of my musical and lyrical ideas and I do make copious lists of possible song titles but my inner critic still has a field day every time I try to put lyrics down onto paper.

You see, my inner critic is a very persuasive and persistent entity and quite frankly, I’m becoming snowed under with all of my half finished songwriting ideas

I’m hoping that collaborating with other (song) writers will enable me to learn from them (and them from me) plus we’ll finish a few songs along the way.

This is especially pertinent with the 50/90 Songwriting Challenge just around the corner

So, are there any writers that want to collaborate with me? If so, let me know and lets start making beautiful music together.

I’ll even showcase our songs on All About Songwriting.

Until next time, happy writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

Songwriting Tip – Using Cliches To Your Songwriting Advantage


There are many songwriting articles around telling us how bad cliches are for songwriting and that they should be eliminated from your life but for me, the question still remains…

“Is it possible to completely eradicate cliches from your songwriting?”

Well, I believe that you can’t completely eradicate cliches but you can look at them from another perspective. You can look at them as a possible songwriting tool.

Wikipedia defines a cliche as “…an expression, idea, or element of an artistic work which has become overused to the point of losing its original meaning or effect, even to the point of being trite or irritating…” and while I was doing some research for this post I came across a website called ClicheSite and I was really surprised with what I found.

I discovered how deep rooted cliches are in our everyday language and how there were some cliches listed on the site that I thought weren’t cliches.

Now I hear you asking… “how can ClicheSite help me with my songwriting?”

Well, the beauty ClicheSite is that it contains a very concise list of phrases that have become cliches over time plus, it also gives you the place of origin and the meaning behind the cliche which can give you ideas on how perhaps rephrase the cliche into something more original.

You see, by knowing the meaning behind the cliche you can then internalise that into your own experience and come up with something that comes from you and you only.

A good example of rephrasing a cliche to a songs advantage is the Toni Braxton song “Un-Break My Heart” (written by Dianne Warren) which is a rephrasing of “Break My Heart” a well worn cliche in its own right.

Here’s how you can rephrase a cliche to your advantage. Pick a cliche and play around with the phrase and the meaning behind it.

Write the cliche down on a piece of paper and try to match an event in your life that fits in with the meaning of it. By personalising the cliche you are changing its meaning to you from a global one to a unique one.

From there, you can start brainstorming your own phrases, lines and ideas from the rephrased cliche but these will be borne from your own experiences and knowledge. I believe that this is how you can use cliches to your songwriting advantage.

Here are some other cliche websites for you to check out:

What are your favourite cliches? I’d love to know what they are as there might be a song lurking underneath it.

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

The 50/90 Challenge For 2014 Starts July 4th. Are You In?


Do you reckon you could write 50 Songs In 90 Days?

If you’re an avid online researcher for all things songwriting as I am, you might have come across a wonderful songwriting challenge called FAWM.

It stands for “February Album Writing Month” and the idea is that you write an albums worth of material (14 songs) in the month of February. This equates to writing a song every two days.

FAWM started in 2003 and for the past eleven years it’s successfully inspired songwriters from all walks of life and skill levels to get out of their comfort zones and chase after the muse rather than wait for it to happen.

I’ve participated in FAWM since 2008 and even though I’ve not yet completed the challenge in full, I’ve always learnt a little more about myself and my songwriting process through doing it.

The creators of FAWM have also devised another songwriting challenge called 50/90. That is, writing 50 songs in 90 days starting from July 4th through to October 1st.

According to the 50/90 website the 50 songs in 90 days challenge is for…

“… a group whose purpose is to challenge members to write 50 songs in 90 days. Between July 4 and October 1 of any year, in the company of others, you can engage in some harmless songwriting mayhem. The prize is the pride in writing songs that may never have been written otherwise.”

What a fantastic way to try out all of the different things you’ve picked up from reading this blog.

I’m going for it and so should you.

I registered with the 50/90 site yesterday so all I have to do now is wait for July 4th and start putting what I write about in All About Songwriting into practise.

50/90 is a great way to face your songwriting fears and battle your inner critic head on. Consider registering for the 50/90 challenge.

We can do it together. Let me know if you’re up for the challenge.

Until next time, happy writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

Self Doubt And Your Songwriting


The main thing that destroys the creativity in any songwriter is their own self doubt.

We all have it and we all deal with it in our own individual way.

I find it strange that the things we take for granted were initially invented or created by individuals who were confident, courageous and passionately determined enough to step up to the plate and develop a (sometimes radical) new idea.

Imagine what kind of a world we’d live in if:

  • Albert Einstein believed in his bad school reports and gave up on life?
  • Alexander Graham Bell gave up just before he invented the Telephone?
  • Thomas Edison believed the naysayers and turned off his Light Bulb idea?

The list goes on and on…

As a songwriter, having confidence that whatever you say is worth something is at the very essence of what writing songs is all about.

This is summed up nicely in an article I found by John Cowell who runs a site called Great Songwriting called “Beginner Songwriting 12 Points On Your Self-Doubt”

John’s piece is a simple and straight-forward article on where self doubt comes from and how you can deal with it. I also like it because it puts forward encouragement to the beginning songwriter.

Here it is for your reading enjoyment…

Beginner Songwriting 12 Points On Your Self-Doubt
By John Cowell

1. Beginner songwriting self-doubt is normal. Here’s how to fix self doubt in songwriting by learning to neutralize doubt because it’s a logical part of songwriting.

2. You’re not alone because most songwriters have self-doubt. It’s absolutely ok, the trick is writing when doubt makes it difficult to write. It’s easy to feel tied down with everyday stresses that stop you from finishing a great song.

3. However, without doubt, how would you have a healthy fear of failing? A manageable fear of not producing strong songs is important as you can learn to use it to support your writing. Use it to force yourself to dig deeper to write better songs.

4. Songwriters face a lot or rejection from many people. When you respect a person because you value their views, they hold more weight over you than others.

5. What if they think you can’t do it, can’t write a strong song? We often measure ourselves based on what we believe others think of us.

6. Nothing kills inspiration and songs faster than your own internal words that sensor what you are writing. We all have this worry that comes from the fear of failing.

7. But the good news is maybe you are a brilliant and wonderful songwriter. How will you ever find out if you don’t write and rewrite?

8. Doubt of your ability creeps in when you’ve been reminded of failed efforts or expectations. But the greatest failure of all is not realizing your potential.

9. Sometimes it doesn’t seem to make sense. All these people may love and respect you, but you can still doubt yourself. You can create failure in your mind.

10. Creativity is not limited to a few who express their experiences in commercially successful songs. We are all creative. Visualize yourself reaching what you want and the satisfaction you will experience. In other words, see yourself performing well.

11. There is a great deal of room for unique points of view and in fact people are just waiting to hear a great song that touches them. We all have our moments of self-doubt, often when we see someone else’s great success.

12. There’s room in beginner songwriting to learn to create great songs. And it can be learned. The people who are successful are the proof. But you must believe in yourself. I have an excellent example of a Hall Of Fame songwriter expressing normal self doubt.

About The Author

John Cowell is self proclaimed songwriting addict. His fresh approach to songwriting tips and advice will have you saying “Ah-Ha” over and over again.

To get simple and terrific ideas on how to write great songs visit his website

I remember starting out on my songwriting journey all those years ago.

I was full of passion and enthusiasm but not much knowledge. Once I started getting some songwriting knowledge, experience and musical theory under my belt I started developing this thing called self doubt.

I started to compare myself to others and, at the same time my inner critic started to plant seeds of doubt in my head.

Eventually I got over myself and now the willingness to write songs comes easily to me however, in getting there I went through a lot of pain.

I’m sure most songwriters experience this at least once in their lives. If you’ve had a similar experience let me know. I’d love to hear about it.

Until next time, happy writing

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting