Songwriting and Publishing: A Verse of Poetry

A Verse of Poetry

When it comes to writing a song, there is no proper way to go about it. If I sat here and tried to figure out how to write the perfect song, I’d be sitting here for hours. One of my biggest inspirations when it comes to songwriting is Taylor Swift. I admire the way she creates a story through her lyrics and her experiences. Her songwriting takes the form of poetry and that is something I definitely try to emulate with my own songwriting. But what am I even going to write about? The first thing I do whenever I’m writing anything is grab a notebook and a pen and get to brainstorming. With my guitar laid across my lap, I start playing chord progressions till I find something that feels right. Along with playing melodies, I simply start singing whatever comes to mind because without thought I can truly figure out what I feel. By not having any predetermined outline, I can let my words flow freely and have them come naturally, instead of writing something first. 

Concentrated and ready to write!

The first thing that comes to mind is love. Love is a universal feeling that everyone has experienced at one time or another. We love our parents, friends, and significant others, so there is a lot of room to play here. With a brush of my thumb, I start singing from an outsider looking in at my own relationships. The first lyric for the first verse starts with: “my friends see how well you treat me, never heard that one before” to reflect on how sometimes we don’t realize how well things are going till we take a step back. “They tell me, how much you need me, never needed you more” follows to show an appreciation for that person in my life. As I continue, I realize what I want to write: a love letter. As much as I love writing, I am admittedly bad with words in the sense that I never openly tell people how lucky I am to have come across them in my life, so this is a way to express my love through music. When writing, I often stop and come back to my guitar to hear what I write with a clear mind and a new perspective. 

I saw some swans on my walk on the Esplanade after my coffee!

Hours later when I’ve had a coffee and taken a walk around the neighborhood, I go back to writing. I pick up my guitar and try plucking a progression instead of strumming, which I find to like better to create an airy, whimsical feel. Picking up where I left off, I start blissfully singing a few lines to create the first verse. After trial and error, I solidify my words and clean up the rough edges and come up with: 

My friends see how well you treat me, never heard that one before

They tell me, how much you need me, never needed you more

And you don’t judge me for my dirty laundry, 

You’re the only place in this world I feel safe 

And for the first time in my whole life,

I never felt the need to try and change.

2 hours later…

After coming up with a verse, I play it over and over again until my fingers get blisters from plucking the same four strings for what feels like days. I then record myself singing what I wrote to hear it from outside my body and to double-check if it sounds angelic or like a cat clawing at a chalkboard. I also play it in several keys to see what sound I like better for the song as a whole. Although this feels like I’m creating a finished product, to me, it is never finished. I have too many ideas and changes throughout the songwriting process that I feel like I could always add more or do it completely differently, but I like to save that for the end. This verse is “done” but there are moments where I completely hate it or love it or want to start all over, but I know if I just keep going, it’ll all turn out the way it’s supposed to. 

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By Megan Grosfeld

Megan Grosfeld is a Junior at Emerson College majoring in Writing, Literature, and Publishing with a concentration in Publishing. Her dream is to be like the modern Carrie Bradshaw of the Publishing world, but with more writing, sex, and infinite pairs of Manolo Blahniks.

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