If you want to change your songs, change your process

Once you understand the process you use to write songs, you can start to think about how making changes to that process might change the songs you write. Those changes could be anything. You could write on a different instrument or with different collaborators. You could introduce limitations, or prompts, or outside inspiration from something you have read or seen.

Stepping back, it’s worth thinking about the reasons you might want to change the way you write songs. It’s probably smart to figure out what it is you want to change about your songs – that way you can start to think about what you can change in your process to achieve your new goals. Some scenarios I can imagine or relate to:

  • You need to write songs to be performed in a different genre than you normally write for, or for a new band
  • You have ideas that you are finding difficult to express in a song
  • You keep writing about the same things and want to introduce new types of themes, narratives, or characters to your songs
  • You feel stuck or aren’t able to write as much as you normally do
  • You heard new music and want to try to incorporate some aspect of it into your own songs
  • If you understand your process, it is easier to make minor adjustments and incorporate new elements without getting disoriented while writing, or worrying that your own voice will somehow be lost. 

Making changes to your process can be an important way of growing as a songwriter and of pushing your songs in new directions. You may find that you develop multiple, parallel processes, each or which tends to produce a different type of song. Experimenting with process can help to demystify the process of writing songs and open up new possibilities for your songs.