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How do you Write a Song? - Tips for Writing Hit Songs

Updated on March 22, 2013

Just How do you Write a Song When you Can't Play an Instrument or Have Never Done it Before?

Whether you have already started writing songs or are just beginning to explore the possibility of pursuing your dream of becoming a songwriter, there is always more to learn.

"Never stop investing.

Never stop improving.

Never stop doing something new." - Bob Parsens

It is a daunting prospect for many, setting out on a songwriting adventure, but armed with the right knowledge and a dash of inspiration, just like anything else, you can achieve it and be writing hit songs in no time! You can never be too optimistic!

So without further ado, let's get to the point.

How do you write a song when you can't even play an instrument?

Listen, do you hear that? Yes, of course you do - that's the sound of the world happening around you.

No matter where you are, it's music is playing and is potentially an unlimited resource into which you can incessantly tap with no worry of it ever ending.

You DO NOT need to be able to play an instrument or even read chords in order to be churning out hit songs. You are a writer, a painter whose color is derived from the multitude of words and their associations. That's your job, to touch, inspire, bring to tears, cause memories to come cascading back into existence as if they were never forgotten.

Work in tandem with another musician, a friend, or a friend of a friend. Everyone knows someone who can play an instrument.

If you really want to be writing hit songs within the next couple of years, you can at least make the effort to find a musician with which to work in tandem with, to create a masterpiece.

How do you write a song when you can't play an instrument? Find a musician and work as a team.

How do you Write a Song? Like Bob Dylan?

Reproduction of some handwriting lyrics by Bob Dylan
Reproduction of some handwriting lyrics by Bob Dylan | Source

Paint a Picture with Words


When Writing Hit Songs, Where do you Get the Inspiration?

"My songs are basically my diaries. Some of my best songwriting has come out of times when I've been going through a personal nightmare." - Gwen Stefani

Use Your Pain to Write Songs

Admittedly, it does sound a little crazy, maybe even absurd ... but when you think about it, it makes sense - use the pain of experiences to write those sad songs. We have all felt pain during our lifetimes, and it wasn't in vain. It taught us to be strong and to persist. Use those feelings to remind others of their own pain and how you have conquered it. Inspire feeling through the images you paint with your words and writing a hit song will come easily to you.

How do you write a song that makes people want to listen again and again?

Associations, associations, associations! That's what a writer does, whether writing stories, novels, articles or songs - a writer deals in association!

For example, when you write something like "I kissed a girl and I liked it!" what happens? Even you as you write you can't get the resulting image to go away for a while! Imagine the effect of such a simple line when paired with a great sound production to create a hook - you end up with a hit song.

If your words aren't calling images to mind, you are not writing hit songs - it's that simple.

Check out these word images:

"Like a candle in the wind."

"Ground control to Major Tom."

"Smoke gets in your eyes."

"Two hearts, living in just one mind."

Each one of those simply constructed sentences was an important part of a 'hit song.'

How do you write a song? - The Formula

  • Hone your writing skills to ensure you become a master image painter and essentially a master of writing hit songs that induce associations and images.
  • Find a musician, even an amateur one and work on writing hit songs together.
  • Use your experiences and call upon them when you are in need of some feeling.
  • Use your environment and watch people, what they are doing, where they go, how they all congregate here and there in groups, their behaviors etc. That also creates associations. People need to relate or dream.
  • Get writing those hit songs!!!!

"Everything in life influences my music. I've always used songwriting as a means to share what I think is profound." - Jason Mraz

You see, writing hit songs really isn't so difficult is it?

Some Useful Resources for Budding Songwriters

Places to sell your work:

1. is a place where new songwriters can sell their lyrics and songs for an amount that they decide.

2. is a marketplace where buyers and sellers meet under one roof. Join up and sell your future hit songs!

3. is perfect for new songwriters because it allows you to have your music and lyrics critqued by other songwriters. In time you can even sell your music through them.

A Song Critique, Marketing and Co-Writing Service is a professional service that provides song critique and more.

A Little Inspiration

1. Bob Dylan's rise to stardom as a singer/songwriter.

2. A series of lessons on songwriting.

Here are some excellent tips for writing hit songs from an expert!

How do you write a song? Do you use any specific techniques? Let me know what your thoughts are. Thanks!

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    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Rich, this is an interesting hub on how to write hit songs. It's very useful and interesting at the same time with your tips. Voted up!

    • denden mangubat profile image

      denden mangubat 

      5 years ago from liloan, cebu, philippines

      thanks for the info that there are websites where you can sell your composed songs

    • Paul Kuehn profile image

      Paul Richard Kuehn 

      5 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand


      Obviously not every person has the talent to be a songwriter just like not everyone can be a successful poet. I think a songwriter needs to have a lot of imagination and be able to create images which other people can relate to. If anyone has a talent for creative writing or poetry, I think they would be more successful in going into songwriting. Voted up and sharing with followers and on Facebook. Also Pinning.

    • mejohnson profile image


      5 years ago

      Great information. Always wanted to write a song, but never knew where I could submit it. Thanks!

    • PeggyLou profile image

      Peggy Salvatore 

      5 years ago from Mid-Atlantic States US

      Let me recommend some of the ASCAP (American Society for Composers, Authors and Publishers) workshops. They are held around the country, often in LA. It costs some money but it's a good investment in going to the next level, if you can come up with the $. Also, the Durango songwriting festival is excellent. You'll get a chance to sit with pros who will critique your songs and meet other songwriters like you who are looking to partner.


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