Write about what you know about

When starting out on your songwriting journey, sometimes the temptation is to reach too far. To write songs about things that seem cool and exciting – but things that we don’t actually know much about. For example, we might idolise Nick Cave and want to write a murder ballad, without actually understanding the history of the genre. Maybe we want to write about the pain of being in love, so exotic because we have never actually been in love ourselves. The real challenge as a songwriter is to start small – write about what you know about. Maybe you work in an office and the photocopier makes an amazing rhythm. Try singing along, using management jargon. Maybe you are in your 30s and live with your parents. Write about how you feel when your Dad asks you about your direction in life. Don’t pretend to be something you’re not, because humans are very good at detecting this, and unless you pretend incredibly, incredibly well, you are not going to get away with it. Start small, because we all live small lives, and we want to hear small stories.

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