Road-Mapping

There are a million ways to write a song, neither one more or less correct than the other. It's all what clicks for you, so I'll give you a few tools as a jumping off point, and from there, you get to trust yourself and run with whatever feels right and gets you to the end of the song! For this exercise, we will be writing lyrics first, and attaching it to a melody later.


Road mapping is not only an approach to writing a whole song, it's also a way to get unstuck from writer's block. It zooms us out to a full birds-eye-view of the song, and we can structure bullet points almost like we're prepping for an essay. Seeing the whole song from this perspective helps keep us on track throughout, and we can ensure that all lyrics are pointing to our main idea. Take a second to look at the below example of road mapping. Keep in mind, I'm taking you through an example of a song in verse-chorus form. This is the most widely popular song form, so we will start there. But the world is your oyster as we continue to learn and branch out!

Giving each song section a purpose helps us make our lyrics have intent. In the worksheet below, I'll walk you through an outline of each section, potential purposes for each, as well as a pop song break down.

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With this in mind, let's map out our own song. Print out the below worksheet and follow along.

First, reflect on all of your brainstorming from the previous song writing section. Let's choose a resonant idea from there and make it our main idea/topic.

Can you find a title out of that topic? If nothings coming to mind, no worries, it will as we continue to write. For now, if you don't have a title, summarize what you want to write about in the main idea/title box.

Now let's move to the chorus box. We are starting here instead of verse one, because the chorus serves as the main idea, and verse one is only there to lead the listener up to it. In the chorus box, brainstorm ideas, write down bits of lyrics, write down potential rhymes. We are gathering all of our materials for compilation.

Move through the verse brainstorming with the previous worksheet as a template. Continue to check in with yourself and the main idea to ensure we're sticking to the topic. Try to keep it as honest as possible. A common stumbling block for lyricists is fixating on the 'perfect' lyric, and trying making it sound insightful. If it's sincere, by default, it's insightful. We loose track of our intent when we're worried about flowering it up. So trust that what you have to say and how you have to say it is perfect, because our priority is maintaining a clear channel for your voice. Now have fun working away at the sheet, and I'll see you on the flip side!

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