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  • Phil Sunday

5 Books To Improve Your Songwriting

Updated: Dec 9, 2019

As soon as you start to think you know it all...that's when you stop making progress.

An essential way to grow in your field is to develop new skills. Only by doing that you can make sure to keep the initial flame alive that got you into doing this in the first place.


Here are 5 of the best books that I have encountered along the way.

A small list of inspiring, motivating and sometimes eye-opening reads. Enjoy.


1. Writing Better Lyrics (Pat Pattison)

Pat Pattison's legendary book ''Writing Better Lyrics'' helps you achieving exactly that.

Even more, it helps being more aware of what you are feeling and writing and how to develop an engaging story.

An essential read on the art of crafting strong lyrics.



“Remember this fundamental fact: You are absolutely unique. There never was, is not now, nor ever can be anyone exactly like you. The proof lies in the vaults of your senses, where you have been storing your sense memories all your life. They have come cascading in through your senses, randomly and mostly unnoticed, sinking to the bottom. Learn to dive for them. When you recover one, when you rise with it to the surface and hold it aloft, you will not only surprise your onlookers, you will surprise yourself.” ― Pat Pattison, Writing Better Lyrics



2. Songwriters On Songwriting (Paul Zollo)

A book full of interviews with some of the best songwriters of our time.

If you ever lack inspiration or just need a little kick in the ass, read an interview and get the juices flowing.

The insights into the mindsets of these writers are probably the most inspiring and motivating parts of these 750 pages.



“I think that songs primarily are for courting, for finding your mate. For deep things. For summoning love. For healing broken nights, and for the central accompaniment to life’s tasks. Which is no mean or small thing.”

― Leonard Cohen, Songwriters On Songwriting by Paul Zollo




3. On Writing (Stephen King)

This masterpiece is not a book about songwriting.

The way Stephen King choses his words about the art of writing, though, is incredibly inspiring and entertaining at the same time.

You'll also get a behind the scenes look into how King developed from being a starving artist to becoming a best selling author.



“Writing isn't about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it's about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It's about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.” ― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft



4. The Songwriting Genius Within You (Geoffrey Williams)

This one is a bit special.

The Songwriting Genius Within You deals with mindset, trusting your instincts and helping you develop a ''flow state'' that even has a meditative appeal.

Geoffrey Williams takes you on a journey from the initial idea in your mind to hearing the finished song inside your head.

In short: this book can help you unlock the ability to creating a vision.



''You must develop the ability to change your emotional state.'' ― Geoffrey Williams, The Songwriting Genius Within You







5. The War of Art (Steven Pressfield)

The cover says it all:

''A vital gem...a kick in the ass.'' - Esquire

The War Of Art is about showing up and getting shit done.

It talks about the concept of how the things we fear the most are usually the things we should tackle the first.

Even if you don't feel ''inspired'' to do so.

Adapting the mindset laid out in this book helps putting on your ''finisher'' shoes and moving on.



“Resistance is always lying and always full of shit.” ― Steven Pressfield, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles

© 2020 by Phil Sunday.

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