A practical guide to developing your song writing creativity 

By Jimmy Hughes-Brown

28 May 2024

Finding inspiration and developing your song writing skills can be a challenging but rewarding process. This guide will provide you with practical steps and advice from experienced songwriters to help you on your lyrical journey

1. Immerse Yourself in Music

Colin Eade from the Guild of International Songwriters and Composers emphasizes the importance of immersing yourself in music. “Listen to a wide variety of genres and artists to understand different musical styles, structures, and lyrical themes. This will expand your musical palette and help you identify what resonates with you.”

2. Draw Inspiration from Poetry

Song writing, at its core, is a form of storytelling that relies on carefully chosen words to evoke emotions and create vivid imagery, much like poetry. Eade suggests that reading poetry can significantly influence your song writing. Kier Burke, a singer-songwriter, found her introduction to song writing through poetry: “I used to rhyme a lot when I was younger. Once I realized you could sing your poems, that’s where the songs came from.”

3. Experiment with Different Styles

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different musical and lyrical styles. Kier shares a fun exercise she uses for inspiration: “I do a word challenge where someone gives me tricky words to incorporate into a song. This pushes my creativity and helps me come up with unique ideas.”

4. Keep Writing to Find Your Voice

Finding your own style is a personal process that requires patience and persistence. Colin Eade advises writing regularly: “Jot down your thoughts, ideas, emotions, or stories, and start turning these into lyrics as often as you can. Over time, your unique style will begin to emerge.”

Kier reflects on her journey: “When I pick up my old stuff, it’s funny because I was writing about things I didn’t understand yet. It wasn’t until I had my own experiences that I found my voice and what I wanted to write about.”

5. Avoid Common Mistakes

Colin Eade highlights some common mistakes new songwriters make and how to avoid them:

  • Lack of Structure: Ensure your song has a clear beginning, middle, and end.
  • Overcomplicating Lyrics: Keep your lyrics simple and relatable.
  • Ignoring the Hook: The hook is the catchy part of the song that grabs the listener’s attention. Make sure it stands out.

Editing your songs is crucial. The first draft is rarely perfect, so revise and refine your work to improve lyrics, melodies, and overall cohesion.

6. Embrace Constructive Criticism

Sharing your work and being open to constructive criticism is essential for growth. Colin Eade advises: “Feedback provides valuable perspectives that help you refine your style. Differentiate between helpful feedback and comments that might lead you away from your authentic voice.”

Chad Brooke, a songwriter and lead singer for The Dodgy Jammers, adds: “Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Most people in music are happy to support you. If you encounter negative feedback, don’t let it discourage you. Use it as an opportunity to improve.”

7. Trust Your Community

Engage with your community, whether it’s your band, other musicians, or music teachers. Chad Brooke believes in the power of community: “Nobody’s an island. Sometimes feedback might initially hurt, but it often leads to better outcomes. Don’t be scared to fail. Most people in music are willing to help you.”


Every songwriter’s journey is unique, and finding your way takes practice, persistence, and dedication. Give yourself the space to grow and evolve. Those pages of scribbled notes and half-formed lines could be the beginning of great songs. Keep writing, experimenting, and sharing your work, and your style will emerge over time.

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