My Song Writing Process

I know a lot of people write in a different way, so I figured I’d outline how I write my lyrics! I have a few different ways I go about things – it really depends on what comes to me first. I’ve seen some people say they do like, an idea board or something to outline the song, but I’ve tried doing that and it super didn’t work for me. It worked for maybe like, one song, but it was a song that I was making for a pre-existing video game score so it was a lot easier for me to just write down certain emotion’s and roll with it. But for original stuff? Doesn’t work for me. My brain is far too disorganized for stuff like that!

First thing I do before coming up with any songs, is coming up with an outline for a few song concepts. I get inspired by things around me – usually nature, and different life motifs – like a random thought that crosses my mind, or a story that I just think of that I go “Oh, I could spin that into a story”. I love songs that tell stories, as opposed to more dance and pop sounding things that are more structured around over-arching themes, so first thing I do once I think of a concept is outline the story that will take place. I brainstorm a few outcomes for the ending, but make sure I have a solid middle, beginning, and end (or multiple endings) for the story before writing. After that, I usually go straight to writing the lyrics, get those all done and then think of a melody to the lyrics and sing it out loud. If some lyrics don’t fit the melody structure at that point, I go to the lines that are sticking out and re-write them so they flow more easily in the melody. There’s been a few times where I’ve come up with the melody before writing the lyrics, but that’s been rare – I find it a bit more difficult to write lyrics when you have a melody structure you’re trying to fit into, but I tried it nevertheless and got the lyrics done. Haven’t recorded that demo yet, so we’ll see how that goes! But none of this happens for me until I finish my first step – which is the story plotting and outline. Pretty much, I treat my lyric writing like I treat my script and novel writing and it works well for me.

When I’m trying to come up with my background instrumentation, I really just sort of…wing it. I have the lead vocal melody charted out beforehand, and just sing things until I find something I like that would fit behind said melody. This phase for me is a loooot of trial and error, and I always just record a really rough demo of the lead vocal to have as the backdrop for my arranging. This is one of my favorite parts honestly, because it’s a lot of creative trial and error.

And that’s pretty much how I do it! I record everything that I think I would possibly use, mix, then listen, then see if I want to add anything else, or tweek things for the song. Sit on the track for a few days, and if I can listen to it without going “Eww!” to a certain section, I am done with it!

What about you, do you have a writing process you like to employ for your projects? I’d love to hear in the comments!


Author: Crystal

A California based musician who is as passionate about music as she is video games,, Crystal (or ValkyrieCeles around the interwebs) loves to gush about her various nerdtastic loves, rant about anything currently catching her fancy, and generally just express herself in any creative outlet she can get her hands on. An avid reader, writer, and dreamer, Crystal has been leaving pieces of herself around the internet since 2006.

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