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Inspirational Songwriting Books To Read If You’re In A Creative Rut

Stuck in a creative chasm? Take a break by reading one of these gems and it might just disappear!

It’s common that there’s one mood that helps you write the best lyrics. But it’s unreliable.
You’re not alone in this though, as the best songwriters in the industry have also write some meta guides on songwriting.

Whether you’re struggling to fit a melody to your lyrics or struggling to find creative sources of inspiration, these invaluable guides on songwriting will be such life-savers you might even consider writing a song about them!

#1 Writing Better Lyrics by Pat Pattinson

Writing Better Lyrics by Pat Pattinson
Pat’s book provides a lot of sustainable habits for songwriting and creativity in general. Pat asks the reader to write every day and makes this task easy by assigning a short prompt based on the chapter. He emphasizes relying on all senses, not just sight, to inspire our writing. This book separated me from the idea that everything I create has to be a winner, I just have to create. In turn, I’ve been able to produce better and produce more.

Before buying a copy make sure to compare the price at various outlets:

Book Depository (International)Waterstones (International) Read more reviews and buy the book here

#2 The Songwriter’s Workshop: Melody by Jimmy Kachulis

The Songwriter's Workshop: Melody by Jimmy Kachulis
This really breaks down writing melody in terms of writing melody to lyrics. It’s not the traditional approach melody writing you would find in a music theory book. If you are predominantly a lyricist or predominantly a producer/composer who feels like they can’t crack the marriage between melodic phrasing and words, these exercises highlight that relationship well.

Before buying a copy make sure to compare the price at various outlets:

Book Depository (International)Waterstones (International) Read more reviews and buy the book here

#3 Songwriters on Songwriting by Paul Zollo

Songwriters on Songwriting by Paul Zollo
This book is filled with excellent stories from iconic songwriters on the process and experiences of songwriting. The insights of songwriting extend into the broader creative movement and artists like Bob Dylan and Paul Simon bring their stories to light that help the aspiring writer understand the mindsets of those we listen to and admire the most.

Before buying a copy make sure to compare the price at various outlets:

Book Depository (International)Waterstones (International) Read more reviews and buy the book here

#4 Shortcuts to Hit Songwriting by Robin A Frederick

Shortcuts to Hit Songwriting by Robin A Frederick
As someone who has been writing music for a long time, I was kind of skeptical as to whether or not I would learn anything new from this book.

While I did already know a lot of the “techniques” covered in this book just from being a songwriter for 10+ years and going to college for music, I was very surprised when there was still a handful of really helpful and useful tips I didn’t know about.

This book covers everything about the art of songwriting, and while I did learn a few new music composition techniques, where it really helped me, personally, the most was the lyric writing section.

I’ve always struggled when trying to write lyrics and this book actually gave me some really solid step by step instructions on how to create great lyrics from scratch every time. Those tips are now my go-to techniques every time I sit down to create a song with lyrics.

Now, I have a lot of experience and training in music composition, so I didn’t get as much from the music sections of the book as I did the lyric sections. But for someone that may be newer to songwriting, this is a fantastic way to learn the techniques used to create songs.

And for people that do know how to create music already, like I did, I still think that this book is worth reading because you could very well learn a new technique that takes your writing to the next level. I know I did!

Before buying a copy make sure to compare the price at various outlets:

Book Depository (International)Waterstones (International) Read more reviews and buy the book here

#5 Tuning Into Emotions Workbook by David Hawkins

Tuning Into Emotions Workbook by David Hawkins
This is a free workbook to help songwriters tap into their emotions and use those emotions to write powerful and emotional songs. The workbook was developed as a tool to help everyone enjoy the art of songwriting. It can be used again and again!

Before buying a copy make sure to compare the price at various outlets:

Book Depository (International)Waterstones (International) Read more reviews and buy the book here

#6 The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Character Expression

The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide To Character Expression
Joy, Fear, Surprise, Anticipation, Fear, Anger, Trust, Love…Hate…we feel these emotions every day of our lives and pick songs to listen to based on how we’re feeling right now. The very best songs don’t just match our current emotional state but help to change them. Emotions are hard to put into words though. They’re feelings we have that are unique to each of us. As a songwriter you need to convey these emotions to your audience whilst still sticking to the structure of a song.

The Emotion Thesaurus is a great tool for firstly identifying over 75 different emotions and listing common ideas for each whilst also tackling common emotion related writing problems

Before buying a copy make sure to compare the price at various outlets:

Book Depository (International)Waterstones (International) Read more reviews and buy the book here

#7 Doof Doof: My Life in Music by Simon May

Doof Doof: My Life in Music by Simon May
Simon May is one of the most successful and celebrated composers for television the UK has ever produced. Best known for writing the ‘EastEnders’ theme – whose evocative drum beat gives this book its title – Simon’s long and impressive list of TV themes includes the 1980s smash-hit drama series ‘Howards’ Way’, as well as such perennial favourites as ‘Holiday’ and ‘Animal Park’. In Doof Doof: My Life in Music, Simon describes the creation of these works, his lifelong vocation as a teacher and even his short-lived pop career, with self-deprecating humour and the sharp eye of the true professional. With a wealth of music and TV anecdotes from Simon’s more than 40 years in the business, Doof Doof is a vivid and engaging self-portrait of a successful composer, entrepreneurial businessman, earnest educator and committed family man.

Before buying a copy make sure to compare the price at various outlets:

Book Depository (International)Waterstones (International) Read more reviews and buy the book here

#8 The Ultimate Book On Songwriting by Al Kasha

The Ultimate Book On Songwriting by Al Kasha
Wrtten by an Academy Award artist and who wrote songs for Arethra Franklin Neil Diamond and more, this book gives you all the essentials of learning how to write songs. It discusses writing the music, promoting it as well as marketing. Additionally this book is reasonably priced and received great reviews.

Before buying a copy make sure to compare the price at various outlets:

Book Depository (International)Waterstones (International) Read more reviews and buy the book here

#9 The Essential Songwriter’s Contract Handbook

The Essential Songwriter's Contract Handbook
The book could probably should be updated to reflect recent changes in copyright law, but the basics of songwriting, and what songwriters should know before they sign a contract, never change. NSAI is the penultimate authority on the subject of how and why, in the words of its famous slogan, It all begins with a song.

Before buying a copy make sure to compare the price at various outlets:

Book Depository (International)Waterstones (International) Read more reviews and buy the book here

#10 How I Write Songs, Why You Can by Tom T. Hall

How I Write Songs, Why You Can by Tom T. Hall
This book was the basis for a songwriting course that Hall (a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, the NSAI Hall of Fame and, most recently the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame) taught at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU). Hall emphasizes how he writes songs while emphasizing that his style should simply be a guideline; that when it comes to composing, imitation does not have the shelf life of uniqueness.

Before buying a copy make sure to compare the price at various outlets:

Book Depository (International)Waterstones (International) Read more reviews and buy the book here

Contributors to this article
Kyle Guffey from KyleGuffey

James Lee Baker from James Lee Baker

Don Roberts from Strumcoach

David Hawkins from YourSongmaker

Adam Birkett from Under The Covers Function Band

Janine Hornsby from Austin Macauley Publishers

Stefanie Almond from Hope & Love Radio

Stacy Harris from Stacy’s Music Row Report

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