Practice doesn’t make perfect, but it does make progress! American singer, songwriter, and producer Jon Bellion has mentioned that writing a hit song comes from putting 10,000 hours into your craft. Yes, 10,000 sounds intimidating; but those hours include small daily exercises. Start working towards your 10,000 hours by doing these short and sweet daily songwriting exercises.
Choose a random object and write everything that comes to mind when you think of the object. For example, if you are writing about red cowboy boots, a memory of a family trip to the countryside might pop up in your head. Ask yourself, “What was that trip like? Do I have any specific memories from it? Where did I go?” See where your creative flow takes you.
Similarly to object writing, choose a topic and write down everything associated with it. This could be a theme, place, idea, or object. Make sure you touch on all of its sensory details; including touch, scent, color, sound, and taste.
Re-write your favorite song
First, strip your favorite song of its lyrics. Then, start writing your own lyrics with the same syllable count as the original phrases. Once you have your own lines, start singing them with an improvised melody over the arrangement. It may take a few different ideas before you find the one that flows. When you have the entire song re-written, alter the chord progression and BOOM! You have a brand new song.
Not only is it good for your mental health, but free writing in your journal is a great way to allow yourself to be creative and open without putting pressure on yourself. Let your pen do the work and let your thoughts navigate the flow. It doesn’t have to make sense! It can simply be “word vomit” as I like to call it, where you write everything being said in your internal monologue. Use it as a way to observe how your mind flows. When you are finished, look back and see if there is anything you think could be worthy of a good song concept.
There are countless daily songwriting exercises you can use to get the creative wheels in your brain moving. But no matter which one you choose, it is important you stay consistent. Trust me – there will be days where you feel unmotivated, but showing up for yourself and staying dedicated is the biggest factor in seeing results. Keep writing!