Congratulations! You have accomplished the task of pouring your heart out onto the page and creating a song. However, some of the storytelling in your lyrics may not have turned out the way you intended. Perhaps the words feel clunky when you listen to them. Don’t abandon your work just yet, though, as there’s likely one more step you can take to make your lyrics truly resonate with your audience.
We’ve compiled a list of 5 tips and tricks to help you edit your lyrics and perfect your song. With these techniques, you can bring your storytelling to life and create a complete musical masterpiece.
1* Embrace the willingness to let go
First and foremost, it’s crucial not to cling too tightly to your lyrics during the editing process. Of course, if there’s a line or two that genuinely resonates with you and fits well in the song, feel free to keep them. However, if you find yourself clinging to overused clichés and trite phrases, it may be time to let some things go.
Create a new document or move older lyrics aside. Even better, write fresh lines next to the existing ones and put them to the test to see if you can outdo them. While doing this, remember that it’s not necessary to alter every line in a song to achieve perfection. For instance, the iconic Backstreet Boys hit “I Want It That Way” was circulated among top lyricists to modify the chorus, but none could surpass the original, even though it only truly makes sense when viewed generously.
2* Understand your intended message
During the lyric editing process, it’s essential to be clear about the message you want to convey. This may be easier said than done. Typically, each part of your song leading up to the chorus advances the narrative in some manner.
If your song doesn’t seem to be doing that, consider revisiting the purpose of that specific section and the overall theme of the song. Generally, the verse and pre-chorus sections lead to the key information in the chorus. Examining your song holistically can assist you in refining your lyrics to perfection.
3* Check the sonics
When reviewing your lyrics for editing, it’s crucial to pay attention to the way they sound when sung. Don’t just focus on the production or vocals; consider how the lyrics themselves come across. Do they feel cramped or rushed, with not enough breathing room? Do the rhymes make sense, and do they flow naturally? Is the pacing just right, or are there too many words? Too few?
By checking the sonics of your lyrics, you can ensure that your song is not only easy to understand but also enjoyable to listen to.
4* Is it cliché in a good way?
Do your clichéd lyrics have a unique purpose or are they just repeating what’s been said in countless other songs? While it’s expected to have some familiarity in modern pop music, strive to find interesting ways to express your message, whether that’s through direct language, conversational tone, or inventive metaphors.
However, if you find a cliché lyric that you truly love, don’t be afraid to keep it. This tip is simply meant to encourage you to think critically about your lyrics and explore new ways to communicate your ideas. Remember, clichés became clichés for a reason.
5* Editing a lot of junk
To quote the renowned lyricist and educator Pat Pattison, “Write a lot of rubbish because rubbish makes the best fertilizer.” What this means is that you should write many songs or even edit the same song numerous times, even if some of your initial ideas are poor. Writing terrible ideas helps you get to the better ones, and it may take time and effort to reach a level of proficiency in lyric writing.
Editing your lyrics is akin to the writing process, and it’s vital to remember that you won’t always surpass your original version. However, from time to time, when you revisit and edit, you may write something that is exceptionally profound, and it makes all the time spent deconstructing your song worthwhile.
If you have any other tips or tactics, please let us know in the comments section. We’re always looking for innovative ways to enhance our skills and support one another. With that said, don’t be hesitant to begin editing, and most importantly, have fun with your lyrics. It’s a journey.