21.04 Principles for Songwriting 🧐

Treat the song as if it already exists, as I’ve realized in Songwriting, white noise, and meditation.

Consider everything an experiment. Be willing to write a bad song.

Work. The people who work come up with good ideas, as taught in rule 7 of Corita Kent’s ten rules for teachers and students.

Write the song you want to hear.

Show, don’t tell.

Honor your metaphor.

Avoid adjectives.

Don’t overcook it.

Let the verses tell the story and consider keeping the chorus lyrics the same each time.

It often sounds best to keep the same rhyme scheme in a section and its recapitulations.

Create variety by using different rhyme sounds in different sections.

Use slant rhymes to avoid forcing a “perfect” rhyme. Go for clear over clever.

Keep it simple. A multisyllabic word isn’t going to make your song better.1 Again, go for clear over clever.

Assonant vowels in a slant rhyme makes the rhyme stronger, like “home” and “stone,” as opposed to “pain” and “again.”

Avoid words with few rhymes that lead to clichés, like “love” and “above.”

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