milk shakerOk, so you have written five songs before the holidays. The holidays were crazy with family, friends and lots of eating. Now, it’s the New Year and back to work. You go back and listen to those five songs and they all seem a bit similar.

This is an issue that comes up with the most experienced songwriters. It’s time to shake it up! What can you do to shake it up? Here are some suggestions.

1. If you just have to start with a melody and then write your lyrics, force yourself to write at least the chorus and then write the music or vice-versa. The object is to shift the writing process to cause your brain to think in different ways. When that starts to happen, new words pop up or different melodies will come as a result of words already being there.

2. Go to a different location to write your songs. If you are in a house, get out!! Many are relegated to a piano or some keyboard, go to a church. The other day I was doing a co-write with a writer. He’s from out of town and needs a keyboard, I am a lyricist. So, we just walked into a local big church and happen to meet the head of maintenance. He was so great, and was a creative guy himself. We told him that we were writing Christian songs and needed a keyboard. Well, it turned out they had a $230,000 Bosendorfer Baby Grand piano. My guy had always wanted to play one and that day was his day. We wrote such a great song because he was so inspired.

3. Challenge yourself to write in a completely different style than you normally would. If you write country, try writing pop. If you write jazz try writing country. Again, the object of the game is to get your brain moving in a different direction.

The object of the game here is to feel a little, if not a lot, uncomfortable. Challenge yourself in at least some kind of way. Try adding more visuals, if you normally write more emotionally or thought provoking. You can never have too many visuals in my book.

So, people, let’s start the New Year by shaking, rattling and rolling your brain and step into a Big Bold Level of Songwriting!