Earlier this week I wrote about the advantages of writing a lyric around something that is true. That is all well and good, but. since my goal is to be able to earn some of my living from my writing I must learn how to approach my lyric writing from a business point of view. This means I will have to conform to what people in the business are saying about what makes a good song lyric.
To get to a point where this comes more natural to me, I have started to “cut the ties” to my creations. For the first couple of years of writing I looked at my creations as my babies. They were glorious little things and anyone daring to say anything different was in trouble. I remembered all my lyrics by heart and the more lyrics I added the more I felt like I was owning a treasure trove.
Let’s just say that in my mind the value of my words has fallen rapidly during the last couple of years. It is also very rare that I read through my lyrics on file anymore. If I look through them in search for something specific, I also realise that now I don’t remember them by heart. In one way this is sad, because it means the honeymoon as a lyric writer is gone. From a business point of view, it is excellent, because it means my words aren’t so precious to me anymore. I am now willing to change and reconstruct my lyrics to make them work, if that is what it takes. I suppose you could say I have finally landed into reality with a bang.
This transformation from “art-form” to job has been very gradual. The best thing I ever did was to start sending my lyrics to various places for evaluations, because even though it sometimes hurt when I got the results, it also made me realise where I stood in the greater scheme of things. I am a writer addicted to my craft. I may have an ounce of talent somewhere, but so far, I haven’t even been close to getting noticed or signed.
Some people argue that getting noticed and signed is all about being at the right place at the right time and has very little to do with talent. I would argue that it takes a bit of both. I feel my chances have increased since my mind-set has gone from “misunderstood artist” to “professional writer yet to be paid”. I worked as a journalist for many years, and writing was just a job. Starting to look at my lyrics as I used to look at my articles may help me to write what I need to write in order to give myself a chance in this business.
My first attempt to write a lyric that was totally built on what I’d been told by people in the business is one I’m going to share with you today. It’s called “Too late”. There is nothing personal in it at all. I chose a typical subject, I repeated the hook often, I added a bridge and felt I’d given the lyric a start, middle and end that the listener could relate to. It was a strange way of writing for me, because it felt like I was playing with building blocks and no personal emotions were involved in the process. It was a job from beginning to end. It only took a few minutes to write this lyric and I had no idea how it would be received at an evaluation.
To my utter surprise it gave me one of the best evaluations I’ve ever been given for a song lyric. This still feels a bit strange for something I look at just as I used to look at a finished newspaper article – a finished job. No more, no less. Still, I think this is a good thing. I’ve come full circle and writing is now my job again.
Take care until next time and happy writing!
I’d do anything for you,
you really said.
I believed you, which is how
I made my bed.
Turned out “anything”
wasn’t much at all,
not at all.
How blue eyed was I
to somehow really fall?
Too late I saw the real you.
Too late I felt the lies.
Too late I heard the warnings.
Too late I cut the ties.
So easy, for once,
to give my heart.
You played your part.
I wonder, me or her?
At the start?
Who was your tart?
Two lies, two lives, too many in the game.
Too much to keep in order, what a shame!
Too little too late when caught in the act.
Too much fiction and your facts too abstract!