It's all set: a good musical piece, a good idea for a song, the vocal lines for it; all that remains is the lyrics. The song is promising, it's future as bright as the sun on a clear day.
You then take out a pen and paper, scribble your idea, arrange your words here and there, and behold! The song is done. It sounds awesome.
But then, reality hits you after the release. Someone gives you an honest opinion that the lyrics aren't very good. You check, now like a critic, and true enough, they aren't.
This is quite a common situation for many of us. We struggle to write lyrics, or find good lyricists (which is rare). However, good news is, we all can write good lyrics. It's just a matter of time and practice.
Take the art of writing lyrics as a tree. There are techniques to play with words, of which you'll find plenty of articles, but it just constitutes taking proper care of the branches, flowers and leaves. The roots are the most important, though. They are the ones that your branches and leaves are dependent upon.
Of course, the tree should be visually attractive. But the foundation should be taken care of in the first place.
The root for writing any good lyrics is but one word: emotion. Emotion builds the base upon which you apply writing techniques to create good lyrics.
Here's the list of steps for building a good foundation for writing.
Step 1: Determine the feel of the song. Is the song sad? Or happy? Does it evoke anger? You decide this by hearing the instrumental.
Step 2: Decide the direction of the lyrics. Once the emotion is set, begin the writing. Will it be a story? Or a metaphorical idea of the emotion? Will it uplift you or make you question about things? Keep the emotion as the base.
Step 3: Check whether the song blends in with the lyrics or not. You've written a story, but does the song sound good with it? Maybe the song is demanding something else. Listen to it over and over again, at different times, and decide what blends well.
Step 4: Edit the lyrics. While writing, you just blurt out what you feel. Now it's time to use the left brain to analyse it. The technique part comes here. Rephrase, use different words, anything to make it sound better.
It's simple really, isn't it? You will need to practice to get the 'writing juices' flow out naturally. Your first lyrics will not be a good one. Keep on writing, until you can give your best work. Don't settle for 'good'. Mr. Stephen Covey has said, "The enemy of the best is often the good."
What was your first lyrics writing experience? Did you feel proud of it? Feel free to comment.