Monday, February 9, 2015

Just Write!

So what's my best suggestion for developing (or old pro) songwriters who want to know the secrets of songwriting?

Write more! Write often! Write now!

We may want to say we have writer's block, or don't have time, or don't feel "moved" to write.

But there's a sure fire way to get things percolating if you really, really want to...just write!

I know it seems silly, but the best cure for not writing is to - you got it - write.

How do you do it?

Here's some surefire ways that help me when I'm feeling blocked or not in the mood.

1. Go to the piano and throw you hands down.

That's right I am advocating random notes. It won't hurt, and sometimes you might just hear something you've never heard before.

This works for guitar too.

Resist the urge to play the same chords you always play (yes, I'm talking to you!)

You have to DIG DEEPER. Since I'm not there in person to push you, imagine I or some other music industry person is listening. Try to hear music with new ears. What would be cool, different, inventive, melodic, quirky?

Try to close your eyes and just play a chord. Stretch your hands in a way you don't normally do.

"Songwriting is hard - it's so easy to fall into the same traps. It's not like I wake up and songs flow out of me." - Julian Casablancas

Just trying this may open up new arenas of sound.

2. Write a story.

Just sit at your computer, or write in a journal, but come up with a story about a song idea you have had.

Then try to find a hook in the story, and develop that into a chorus. Write verses about the beginning, middle, and end of the story.

Sometimes just seeing the make-believe land in detail can help flesh out a song.

3. Have a listening party.

I find I write what I listen to.

Want to write in more of a rock style? Listen to the kind of rock music you like.

Want to make music like your favorite artist? Play along, or immerse yourself in their music.

We can't help but emulate! What you write will be your own version of that style, and may lead you exactly where you want to go.


The more you write, the more chance there will something of real worth in your writing.

I tell new writers to do one thing: Write. A LOT!

Yes, it may get repetitive, but one thing that I see it does is teach form and push them to get better.

I have written hundreds if not thousands of songs in the past 30+ years, but I would probably not show you half of them. They were either silly, or half done, or ideas that never went anywhere, but they were very important in my growth as a writer.

So this week, and whenever you get blocked or run out of inspiration, just write. Don't be afraid. The more you write the better you get.

Have a great week!

Eric Copeland is a songwriter who writes for artists at Creative Soul in Nashville, TN, in association with Word Entertainment. Find out more at


Alice4God said...

Good stuff here, Eric!

party band musician said...

Wow -- random notes?! Pretty radical idea, but I'll have to try it. There have been a couple of times when I've (accidentally) hit the wrong note and this turned out to be something cool. Good idea for when my brain is blocked.

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Eric Copeland is an author, producer, keyboardist, songwriter, and president of Creative Soul Companies. What is Creative Soul? Our main goals are to inform, encourage, and assist Christian creative folks in ministry, no matter where they are in their journey. Thanks for reading! Find out more about us at