When the Well Runs Dry

Sept, 2003

Anyone who has ever tried to write a song knows that it is not as easy as it may appear. Sure, there are those days of inspiration, when songs seem to write themselves, but more often than not, the opposite is true. The well runs dry and in order to eke out a song, one may be willing to resort to a number of tactics that would not be considered sound songwriting practice. If you find yourself in desperation as a songwriter, here are some pitfalls to avoid, along with an example of a well-known offender.

1.  If you run out of words before finishing a verse, singing "ooh baby baby" several times is not a viable option.
Example- Led Zeppelin

2.  Similar to #1, if you are unable to complete a verse, throwing in a few f-bombs as filler is not recommended.
Example- Limp Bizkit

3.  Finding words that rhyme should never be done at the expense of actually making sense.
Example- The Doors

4.  Cramming 3 unfinished song ideas together and calling it a song is not advisable.
Example- Paul McCartney

5.  Finding a melody line can sometimes be a struggle, but unless you are a hip-hop artist, DO NOT under any circumstances attempt to rap.
Example- Madonna

6.  If the lyrics and music to your songs start to become interchangeable, you are most likely in a songwriting rut and should just stop.
Example- Bob Seger

7.  If you have had a born-again experience, avoid the temptation of writing new versions of your old songs, replacing "baby" with "Savior".
Example- Mark Farner (Grand Funk Railroad)

8.  If you are unable to come up with any new material at all, recording your first couple of albums over again is probably not the best solution.
Example- King's X

9.  If you are struggling to write a song, simply ripping off someone else's is never a good idea.
Example- George Harrison

10.  Never spell.
Example- Bay City Rollers


Brian Fife

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