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I'm just copying my father

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Writing a Song

First Published: 2018 October 27

Draft 2

Like I’ve mentioned before, I1 compose. But, that composition is always alyrical or setting words to music. But, today on the bus I was playing with the2 ukulele.3 Someone asked me to sing a song about them, so I tried to make one up.

Unsurprisingly, I thought it was better than those around me. A heckler told me that I needed rhymes. There I remembered I do horribly under pressure. But, as I pushed through, I remembered how to think of rhymes and rhythms in real time.

Then the ride ended and we got off the bus.

So, on the journey home, my mind was running with creative song ideas. Since pop country is the furthest acceptable genre from pure country music allowed in rural Iowa, I decided that I would write in that genre. The fact that there aren’t many genres that you can do4 with male voice and ukulele helped me come to that conclusion/

As I started writing though, I’d get stuck about one couplet5 into each set of lyrics. Every so often I’d end up with a whole verse6 before realizing that I had nowhere to go with the lyrics.

Finally, I got a verse and chord progression that sounded nice and left me room to grow.7 Now all I need is another verse, a chorus, and a second set of verses. Easy.8

Draft 1

Like I’ve mentioned before, I9 compose. And, today on the bus I was playing with the ukulele.10 Someone asked me to sing a song about them, so I tried to make one up.

I thought it was ok, until someone yelled that it needed to rhyme. I then learned that I can’t think of rhymes when put under pressure.11 But, right as the ride ended, my creative flow kicked in. That meant that my head started thinking of music.

And, since everyone loves a good country song,12 my mind started thinking of country music. But, I can’t write a normal country song. Despite living in what the Census defines as a “rural” area, I didn’t have the experiences that a country song tends to need. I didn’t have a dog that I loved and lost, or a heartbreak, or an unhealthy relationship with alcohol or a car. To rebut the comment about singing anyways, I can’t be that fake. My high school friends would find out.

So, about one couplet13 into each set of lyrics, I’d get stuck. Finally, I got a whole verse out. Now I’m stuck. But, I figured out the melody,14 which is good because I tend to forget melodies. So, I’ve got four lines, a melody, and a chord progression. If I can just get four more lines and a chorus, I’m cooking.


  1. attempt to

  2. because there’s only one in my life

  3. as I always do when given an instrument

  4. well, do well at least

  5. two lines

  6. four lines

  7. yay!

  8. ?

  9. attempt to

  10. as I do when given an instrument

  11. so there goes my rap career

  12. don’t lie, Take Me Home, Country Roads is the best song around

  13. two lines

  14. and wrote it down, which is more important