If writing lyrics is all about manipulating words onto paper, then to be a good lyricist you would need to develop a healthy respect for the English language and how it can be put together to tell a story, describe a scene or, to put across a point of view.

It would also be handy to become very mindful of what you read, speak, see and hear around you. This would seem like an easy task as words are all around us yet we don’t really see them do we?

We take words for granted.

Actively seeking out words does not mean getting out the dictionary and reading it from cover to cover but it does mean increasing the amount of reading that you currently do now.

If you’re like me, you’d be saying to yourself that you have no time to read. My answer to that excuse is “who says you don’t have time?”

As songwriters, we just can’t afford not to have the time to read. We need to slow our lives down a bit so we can pick up on what is happening around us. We might just miss out on a songwriting idea if we don’t.

One of the ways that you can increase the amount of reading with very little effort on your part, is to start having your local newspaper delivered to your door.

At the start of every day, get your newspaper and a cup of your favourite beverage and start reading it, taking note of what you read and the pictures that you see. What you’re doing is looking for something that captures your attention, something that jumps out at you and compels you to write a song about it.

A headline may make a great title for a song, a quote may make a good line for a chorus and an articles theme may make a great song story but a word of warning here, newspapers are notoriously full of bad news so don’t get sucked in by all of the negativity.

You’re looking for songwriting ideas, not an excuse to feel sad.

If you’re one of those songwriters who only writes when they’re feeling angry or passionate about something, then reading a newspaper every morning will be the equivalent to finding a vein of gold for you.

For the rest of us its a good opportunity to just take some quiet time out, grab a notepad and pen and allow the ideas to enter us from the freshly printed pages of your daily newspaper.

Until next time, keep on writing (and reading),

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting