Create Your Own Rules

Create your own rules to govern how you’ll write the song. You can create rules that defy conventional rules, or just put a twist on a direction you would normally follow. Then, write within your rules.

And – this is a great method down the road. If you ever get stuck, and need a prompt or some general inspiration, the rules give you a construct. This exercise also allows you to experiment with new ideas, or incorporate ideas from songs you admire.

Be bold! Put some things out there that challenge conventional thinking. And, challenges your normal patterns. So, if you know you normally go with three chords, choose two different ones, and limit yourself to those. Do you tend to write only up-tempo songs? Then limit yourself to 75bpm. You get the idea.

Can’t think of some interesting rules? Then listen to a few songs and pick some elements within the songs you believe make the song stronge or interesting.

Some examples of “create your own rules”:

  • The song has to take place over the course of 30 years, but you can’t mention that fact!
  • You can’t use a bridge or a pre-chorus ( V | V | V )
  • Only use three chords:  Bm /  F#m /  E ,   A /  C /  E (or another combination)
  • Write a song using one chord
  • The song can only take place in a 15 minute window of time
  • You have to choose an historic person, but can’t use their name until the end – should sound like it’s your life

Some other ideas can focus on things like rhyme patterns, structures and themes or topics.

  • Create a song with no rhymes
  • Don’t make your hook line your title! Yeah – I said it!
  • Write a one line bridge

And the lists can go on and on. But, the number one priority is to challenge yourself to do something different.

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