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Ok, I hope you’ve started getting your writing juices flowing since I posted Part 1 of this mini series. We talked a little about why to write and what not to do but today we are diving into what TO do.

Here goes…

DO: Look for inspiration from other writers. Read fiction authors like Tolkein, CS Lewis, and other great storytellers. Read poetry, read song lyrics, read writers’ biographies to study the disciplines used by the great writers of history.

DO: Stay in your lane but explore other roads for creativity and inspiration. If you write country songs, don’t start writing dub step. That would be weird and terrible. but go listen to it, go enroll in a creative writing class at a local college, go to a painting class to experience other art forms. But keep writing your country hits!

DO: Listen to LOTS of music. I can’t really over emphasize this. Just do it for crying out loud.

DO: Know who your favorites are!!! When I ask students who they love to listen to, I expect specific names! Generic, “I love everything” answers means “I don’t know what I love” or “I like everything but I love nothing.” Have favorites people. Please. For real.

DO: Edit your writing. But not in your mind because we killed the “inner editor” in part 1 remember? Know what needs to be said in your song. Ask yourself, “Is this line or thought necessary to what I’m communicating?”

DO: Ask yourself, “What is my song FOR?” Often we write only because it sounds clever or rhymes. BOOOO. Knowing the intent and purpose of your song brings direction and storytelling that is transferable to your audience. In performing and songwriting, it’s about giving something to your audience not taking something from them. What are you giving? Are you taking their attention to fill your desire to be heard and praised? Now re-read this paragraph 17 times.

DO: Challenge cliches. Holy moly people. Stop saying “Baby I love you” and read some Shakespeare for 5 minutes! No one needs to hear the same line over and over again. Don’t communicate just how you feel but communicate the level of intensity of that emotion. Simplicity is great, sometimes less is more. But if your song says, “Baby I love you” then I will personally come and take your journal and smack you in the head with it.

DO: Use urgency in your storytelling. If you aren’t eager to share, no one will be eager to listen.

DO: Allow your work to be criticized by people you respect and trust in songwriting and creativity. Nothing is sacred.

DO: COWRITE!!!! What’s better than your brilliant self? 2 brilliant selves!

Ok folks, now get to writing. Let me know your own “do’s and don’ts” too!

Happy Writing!

Shelby Rollins

Author Shelby Rollins

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