For heaven’s sake…don’t ever let anyone tell you that you have to do “this” and “that” to write a great song!! Recently, I’ve spent some time perusing the internet, looking at other songwriting sites…even going over my own!
This is what I’ve learned…songwriting is always at its best when it is coming straight from the heart, your lips, and the chords of your instrument. It is perfect if you leave it just at that! I keep seeing sites that say “write only in the first person” or “keep your form to verse, chorus, verse, chorus” or “don’t ever write too personally”…etc., etc. The fact is that even with all of the articles you will read FROM ME, I am only speaking from my experience, my development. And yours may be entirely different!
Having said that…if you sew a dress, you need room for the arms and legs. In other words, there are some elements that must exist in a song or it is simply noisy chaos. Sitting in your bedroom playing chaos to yourself is absolutely fine, but it will be impossible for someone else to listen to! The best songwriters, learn the so-called “rules” and then break them…not out of spite, but out of a self-confidence that comes with knowing what you are doing. You will ALWAYS find songs that break the “rules”, but rarely have they been broken by someone who didn’t learn them in the first place. Don’t be arrogant, don’t limit your learning potential. Just learn those rules and then break every one of ’em if you like 🙂