FROM THE PRESIDENT
Rick Tate’s explanation of lyric writing:
When we began in elementary school learning to print and write cursive, we followed instructions. The purpose of those instructions was to make our writing and printing numbers exactly alike, hopefully legible. When you open that box swing set which requires some assembling, you follow instructions, again so that the end result is the exact same swing set you see on the cover of the box.
This is where lyric writing becomes different from instructions. Lyric writing is storytelling from our point of view, with our opinion and experiences weaved all through the verses. It should be different from someone else’s lyric, with your flare or even your invented flare. As our earlier writing was critical to be legible, our lyrics must start and stay focused.
There is also another difference which I would like to draw your attention. In conversation, we were politely taught, it is the listener’s responsibility pay attention to the speaker, as the teacher would warn, “there may be a test”. The speech writer’s rule, to make sure they understand: 1. Tell them what you are going to say. 2. Say it. 3. Tell them what you said.
In lyric writing, there are no such rules. The listener is often burdened by the cares of the day, or the noise from the table nearby, and you are competing for their attention. It is now the lyricist’s responsibility to grab the listener’s attention and keep their ear while telling your story. Another consideration to help define lyric writing, storytelling must remain in the same person during the story. First person, second person, third person, so while we are on that thought, there are at least 3 versions of your song from which you may write. You said, they said, and a stranger observing from a distance said. But again, stay in the same person, to keep the focus.
So, in conclusion, lyric writing is what you have all learned rolled together. What you learned from those instructions all your life is now your technique, your opinion, your experience and it should flow out of you when you tell your version of the story.
So, get out your paper and pen and write your story……have fun.