vi) Start strong - if you don't catch the publisher/listener right off the bat you're done. You have to hook their attention immediately. You're 1st few lines are very important. Give your song a strong opening. You have only a few seconds to grab their attention so give them an opening that makes them WANT to hear more. Remember, you're wanting to say something with meaning. You're not just creating background noise are you? Then you need to grab their attention early or they won't even realize your song has a chorus. "Successful songs grab the listeners attention by a variety of time proven 1st line devices. The question - How many roads must a man walk down - Bob Dylan The greeting - Well, hello there - Willie Nelson The suggestion or request - Don't go changing, to try and please me - Billy Joel The provocative statement - Maybe I hang around here a little more than I should - Allen/Barry The time frame - Wednesday morning as 5 o'clock - Lennon/McCartney The situation - My child arrived just the other day - Cat's in the cradle - S. & H. Chapin The setting - Sitting in the morning sun - Cropper/Redding The visual image – Under the boardwalk, down by the sea – Rolling Stones The use of secular songs is not as a model for gospel, I am just showing good songwriting technique. Let's think of some gospel songs that use these as well: The setting - The old rugged cross - On a hill, far away The statement - Amazing grace - Amazing grace, how sweet the sound -
vii) Write a lot - grab a rhyming dictionary, have a pad and pen handy everywhere, all the time, get a pocket tape recorder and always be ready for inspiration. Write down everything that comes to you. As in anything, practice makes perfect.
viii) Look at the world like a songwriter - read billboards, books, the newspaper, listen to sermons, conversations, etc. like a writer. Always be open and searching for ideas and hooks. Listen for ideas, and you'll find that they're screaming out at you at times. Listen to the Sunday sermon. That's good for at least one song a week. Pick up the newspaper, there's a couple more songs just from headlines written. Listen to your normal, everyday conversations with people throughout the day, and you'll get a few more ideas. Inspiration comes in floods when we’re looking for it. It comes here and there when we’re not tuned in to it, but when songwriting is on our mind, songs pop out everywhere. We are busy at work, etc., they have to jump out and smack us in the face at times. When we read the paper, look outside, watch TV, read the Bible, etc. as a "songwriter" it's amazing how inspiration comes. Begin to "listen all around you. Ideas are everywhere, if you just listen." Write like crazy, and you'll have a lot you'll have a lot of coal, and someday, you might just find yourself a diamond. No matter what, you'll surely have some fun.