All About Songwriting

Your #1 Songwriting Resource

Category: Songwriter

Songwriting – Making The Time To Write Is Essential

Most songwriters say that the hardest thing about writing songs is finding the time to write and as we live in a world that tells us we have no time to do anything, how do we overcome this?

We overcome this situation by not buying into the fact that we have no time to write.

I think it was Zig Ziglar who once said that a “…lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.”

Every day, through every type of media, we’re bombarded with words and images promoting the latest time saving device or yet another solution to the “problem” of life just being way too busy.

It seems that society is cleverly turning us into obsessive time freaks and for what? So we can be sold the latest and greatest time saving device?

Now, I realise that this is a blog post about the gentle art of writing songs, not a forum about the ills of our western world but I wanted to give you all a bigger picture of what we, as songwriters, are up against.

Making time to write songs is essential for being a songwriter. The trick is to know that it doesn’t matter how much time you devote to your craft, but that you at least devote some of your time to your craft every single day.

Let’s do some simple math shall we…

So, starting from today April 28th, 2018, if you devoted one hour a day to your songwriting, by the end of the year you will have have spent 247 hours honing your songwriting craft.

That’s 10 days and 7 hours of continuous songwriting time. How many songs do you reckon could you write in that time?

Or, let’s be even more generous. Even if you devoted just 30 minutes everyday, you’d still have a little over five days of continuous songwriting time at your fingertips.

Making time to do anything requires some sort of an evaluation of what you’re doing with your time right now. Ask yourself the question “What am I doing now that can be let go of or, made more efficient so I can fit in my songwriting?” 

Now, the answer to that question is going to be different for everyone but the way you come to that answer is pretty much the same for everybody.

Try this exercise, do a time audit.

For the next seven days (say, start on a Monday), write down everything that you do plus the times you do them. I’m talking about when you get up, when you go to work, go to sleep, have meals, watch television and everything else in-between.

To make this time audit work it’s important to be brutally honest with yourself here.

By the end of the seven days, you should be able to see some activity patterns emerge. Maybe you need to stop watching TV so much or get up an hour earlier to fit some songwriting into your day.

Once you can see your life from a different perspective, it’s easier to make the changes needed. If you start making the time to write now, the rewards will become self evident down the track.

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

YOU! Are The Uniqueness And Originality In Your Songwriting

Here’s another can of worms I choose to open today (and this is personal opinion of course)…

I reckon that we are coming to the point where everything in western contemporary music has been done before, so why are songwriters so concerned with trying to sound totally 100% original to the point where it becomes an excuse to not write/finish a song (read on for an example of this thinking)?

Look at the music industry at the moment. There are genres, sub-genres and sub-sub-genres all trying to find some elusive niche in the music business and therefore some originality in the music as a whole.

Now, while there are lots and lots of interesting stuff being released all the time, what makes the music interesting are the different layers, production values, dynamics and textures on offer to the listener.

I mean, two unrelated genres colliding together to form a piece of music doesn’t necessarily make the song a totally 100% original idea. Does it?

All I’m trying to point out here is that the chances of doing something completely new and never heard before are very, very, very small so don’t waste your creative energy worrying about it (if however, you do come up with something completely original, I will be the first one to congratulate you).

Always remember that even though a song may not be totally original in its sound, it’s uniqueness does come from you, the songwriter and you alone.

Always remember… You are the uniqueness and therefore, the originality behind every song you write.

Some time ago I remember a friend of mine played to me a first draft of a song he just written. It was a really, really good effort and in my enjoyment of it, I unconsciously started singing another song over the top of it because it sounded familiar.

He stopped what he was doing and then got very upset with me for singing the other song over the top of his work. He then mentioned that he was going to throw the song away and abandon any attempts to finish it.

“I am never, ever going to write a song that has never been heard before” he lamented, to which I replied, “Does it really matter? What matters is that you wrote it, not anyone else.”

He thought about it a little more and decided to finish the song. Once he started working on his song again his whole perspective shifted to the point that the song took a whole new life.

It’s amazing that the smallest of changes of thinking can make the biggest of differences to an outcome.

Once you realise that it’s you that makes your song unique then you’ll finally get off of the “my song must be totally original to really matter” trip that stops so many of us songwriters from writing.

I mean, that excuse is right up there with “my songs must be perfect” and that old favourite, “I have nothing to write about.” All this thinking does is stops you, from doing what you absolutely love… Writing songs.

Do you believe that there are uncharted elements of originality that contemporary western music has not uncovered yet or, does my statement that everything has been done before ring true for you? Let me know what you think as I reckon this would be a great discussion topic 🙂

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

Songwriting Process: Oblique Strategies With Brian Eno

Here is a very interesting video I found recently of one of my favourite musicians and sound artists of all time, Brian Eno being interviewed by Jools Holland in 2001.

In the video, Eno talks about the concept of his Oblique Strategies cards and how they can be of immense help to songwriters, performers, studio musicians and even brain surgeons.

Speaking about brain surgeons check out what happens at around the two minute mark. It’s very, very funny and a great example of how Oblique Strategies works.

Would you use these cards as part of your songwriting process? I would give them a go.

I did a quick Google search and here are some places online where you can find and use Eno’s oblique strategies…

Enjoy the video…

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

Writing Therapy Songs Is Good For You

When life is getting you down and you have no-one to talk to, how about writing a song about it? I can assure you that it will make you feel so much better.

This is because writing a song about your thoughts and feelings is a wonderful way of expressing what’s happening inside you plus, it’s a great way to get things off your chest.

It’s sad that far too many people in this world never allow themselves the chance to release their bottled up feelings and it’s been proven that carrying around all your sadness and anger will make you sick.

With that in mind, that must mean that songwriters must be the one of the mentally healthiest groups of people in the world 😉

Just remember, not every song that you write has to be performed in the public arena so what have you got to lose? You are allowed to write songs for you and you only. No-one needs to know about them and they can be your own little secret if you wish.

Just as long as you write what is in your head and your heart.

It’s widely recognised that sharing a problem with family and friends is a very healthy thing to do mentally however, writing songs for therapy follows a similar concept but in this instance you’re having the same conversation with yourself.

If you want to share your song with others, that’s fine but it’s not essential.

By putting your problems or emotions into a songwriting context you’re really putting a positive spin on a negative situation.

Writing songs about what your feeling at the time allows you to put things into some sort of logical perspective.

Instead of spending hours telling yourself the same old long protracted story about what’s happening in your life, you condense it all into a four minute song. This requires you to cut to the chase with the issue and by doing that, the problem or emotion is not as intense as was first thought.

What you do with the therapy songs you write is totally up to you however, it’s how these songs help you through the tough times, not what you do with them that’s the important thing to consider here.

Please, don’t be afraid to write about how you feel even if you don’t want to face up to it. This is a great exercise in being really honest with yourself and your feelings.

Do you feel a songwriting therapy session coming on about now? The doctor is now in.

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

The BIG List Of Songwriting Prompts And Lyric Generators

Take it from me, there will be times when you’ll need a little bit of help in getting your songwriting process underway.

It’s inevitable…

But when this happens to you, be comforted by the fact that there are free online songwriting tools available that are able to get your creative juices flowing again.

As a songwriter who comes up with musical ideas much more easily than lyrical ones, I use these online random word generators and (song) writing prompts whenever I find myself in a situation where I’m fresh out of songwriting ideas.

I know from personal experience that from time to time a prompt such as a good song title or a few well chosen lines overheard in a conversation can be all that’s needed to open the floodgates of inspiration.

So, with that in mind, I thought I’d do some online research into these types of songwriting tools.

Some are fairly serious and some are humorous but if you have a look at them all you’ll find some value in these sites I’m sure so here is the BIG List Of Songwriting Prompts And Lyric Generators for you to enjoy and be inspired by…


Song Lyric Generators

Song Title/Band Name Generators

(Song) Writing Prompts


You’ll notice that some of these tools are a bit tongue in cheek but there are also some songwriting tools that are seriously good. Either way, by using these tools it’s my hope that you’ll take your creativity to places you’ve never imagined as much as I have by using them.

I’d be interested to hear how you go with any of these. If you come across any other songwriting tools that you feel will help anyone with their songwriting process, feel free to let me know about it.

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

Active Listening – A Songwriters Greatest Skill

When we start engaging in a conversation with someone, our minds generally start thinking a few steps ahead and therefore we miss out on the whole experience.

You know, ordinary people really say the most extraordinary things if you just listen out for it.

If we, as songwriters practise the art of actively listening to a conversation then we won’t miss out on anything. I can assure you that you’ll gain many more opportunities for gathering songwriting ideas if you do this.

It’s a known fact that songwriters like Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and Paul McCartney cite everyday conversations as the, primary sources of inspiration for some of their most well known songs.

Just think of it, as a songwriter, there’s always an opportunity to gather a new songwriting idea because the art of conversation happens on a day to day basis.

What we must do is learn to actively listen to what people say rather than just hear them and believe me, there is a huge difference between “hearing” and “listening.”

Active listening is, like any other skill, something that has to be practised over and over again because as human beings, listening does not come naturally to us.

To actively listen to someone requires us to be mindful of what we’re doing and to be fully in the moment. It requires us to give 100% of ourselves to the other person.

Active listening in a conversation means not thinking ahead about what you’re going to say next while the other person is talking. It’s almost like a form of meditation.

What you’re doing is emptying your mind so it can be filled with the conversation and it’s surroundings.

With active listening there is no doubt, no having to have words repeated back to you because you didn’t hear it the first time. Being in this head-space leaves you open to flashes of inspiration.

Once you become more skilled at this practise you’ll realise that everyone has something important to say.

There are other spin-offs in mastering the art of active listening. You’ll be greatly appreciated by others because you’re someone who really listens and understands them.

We live in a world where we are told time and time again that we have no time for ourselves, anyone or anything. This also means that we don’t take the time out to listen to other people because we are too busy to do so.

Very sad isn’t it?

When you get down to it people want to be happy, loved, validated, acknowledged, appreciated and listened to. Imagine, with your new found active listening skills how much of a breath of fresh air you will be to the people around you?

You will really get to know yourself and others a whole lot more and you’ll also have a constant stream of songwriting ideas at your disposal.

The world is an infinite song ideas machine and you already have the tools to operate it to your advantage.

Your eyes, ears, mouth, brain and heart.

Start really listening to everyone and everything around you today. Your songs will love you for it.

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

What Does Songwriting Mean To You?

Let’s look at the word SONGWRITING for a minute. The dictionary meaning of the word is the “… writing the music and words of songs.”

Now that should give us a clue but I think the definition it goes deep enough. I reckon the meaning of the word SONGWRITING should be something like…

“The process in which a song is created using words and melody”

The word itself is comprised of two words, song and writing. The song part is the end result of a process and the writing part is the process itself.

Get it… Without the writing there is no song.

It seems like a simple concept doesn’t it? But it’s amazing how many songs aren’t written. They are started but never finished.

You see, you can talk all you like about verses, choruses, middle-eights, bridges, pre-choruses, the length of the intro and hooks and so on but without the physical activity of writing the song, all of that theory is meaningless.

Personally, songwriting is much, much more than the song itself. The act of writing a song is a whole process in itself. It’s a discipline, a meditation and for me, a way of life.

Without a songwriting process, a song (being the end result of the process) would not exist at all.

If we, as songwriters didn’t have our own songwriting process, then all of our thoughts, feelings and songwriting ideas will become random, haphazard and lacking in organisation.

How would you be able to maintain a creative and sustainable songwriting environment with all that disorganisation going on?

In future posts I will be writing about how you can create, adopt and manage your own songwriting process and in turn write more songs rather than just waiting for inspiration to come your way. Plus, I’ll be giving you insights as to how I write songs.

What does songwriting and the process involved in writing a song mean to you? Feel free to let me know as we all have something to learn from each other.

Pablo Picasso once said that “… inspiration exists, but it has to find you working” and I think that sums everything I’ve been trying to say in this post nicely.

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting