Starting With an Idea or Concept

Added on Friday 8 Jul 2011

Whenever the process of songwriting seems to become more of a craft and less of an art — more of a puzzle and less of a passion — it’s good to throw the tricks away (at least temporarily) and go back to the theme and concept.

Some of the greatest lyrics are remembered more for their idea or story rather than for their clever rhyme schemes, hooks, twists on the title, plays on words, or expanded clichés. A theme that matters to you can draw out some amazing emotions in, and often as, a sidelight. As a bonus, it helps you come up with some incredible titles, rhymes, and hooks.

Expanding the concept

After you have a concept — what the song is going to be about — you’ll want to elaborate on that concept and develop it into a story. Let your imagination run free.  Make note of all that your imagination dictates to you — the stars, the clouds, the terrain, the glow of your dashboard dials. These are the images that will illuminate your lyric.

There are plenty of things to think about when developing your concept. When writing a screenplay for a movie, one of the tips in training is to decide how the story will end up before you even begin. And so it goes with developing the story for your song.

Click this link to download two free tracks plus a unique ringtone

Songwriting blog archive

» Click here to get two free tracks and a free ringtone.

Enter your name & email
address and get your free
copy of Down by the Wildwood

You will be added Jim's acoustic music adventures mailing list.

What the critics said about 'Every day is sunshine' by Jim Byrne.

  • "a heady and exotic mix. " Q Magazine.
  • "..full of cinematic turns of phrase, dressed up in alluring melodies delivered by some of the most respected players on the modern-day Celtic Folk scene." UNCUT
  • Album of the week on Celtic Music Radio
  • Added to 'God's Jukebox' on Radio Two Mark Lamarr show
  • "A beautifully produced collection of Americana" The Daily Record. Four Stars
  • "Great record... a complete, compelling listen. ", Adam Levy (Songwriter/artist, guitarist with Nora Jones)
  • "ten beautiful, atmospheric songs..", Folk, Blues and beyond
  • "a fresh, original album", Eilidh Patterson (singer songwriter, vocalist with Beth Nielsen Chapman)
  • Sounding like Johnny Cash never left Folsom prison...meditations on life that'll soon sound like old friends. Spiral Earth

Buy from iTunes today