June Songwriting Challenge 2019


Living Music by Justine | July Edition

It feels apt writing this a year on from my 2018 post, Summer Songwriting Challenge…


This year’s challenge was held on Twitter, hosted by @zephyrhillmusic. The goal was to write a song or lyric within the 30 days of June. The title had to be 'Loud and Seventeen'. There were no other rules.


I’ve been worrying about turning 30. I’m not sure if it’s the big 3.0 in itself, or that I don’t own a house or have a super-stable career. I lack pretty much everything we’re "supposed" to have by 30.


Despite having 18 months to go, I’ve been obsessing over people 30+ online. I look up actresses from movies and TV shows on Wikipedia to find out how old they were when that project was filmed. Anyone else? (Probably just me.)


Recently, I’ve come round to the idea. The happiest decade of my life so far has been 0-9 years. I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer, but my twenties were miserable. I feel like 30-39 has potential to beat 0-9. 


I saw this on Lucy Hale’s Instagram. It resonated with me.


I might be feeling more prepared to say goodbye to my youth, but that doesn’t mean I won’t miss it, or that I won’t have regrets or wonder about things that could have been different. This is what Loud and Seventeen is about.


I thought I’d take you behind the scenes of my writing process. Although this varies from lyric to lyric, I often write this way.


The 'loud and seventeen' theme brought up my concerns about getting older. I jotted down my ideas using the 'notes' app on my phone. This stage is more about capturing ideas than creating a finished lyric, or writing matching verses. I never know what will make up which section (verse, bridge, chorus) at this stage.



​​I expanded on the ideas on the 'notes' app using good old-fashioned pen and paper. I often do this away from home. When writing this lyric, I took a trip to Cornwall with my main man (my dog.)​


Later, I type the notes onto my laptop, formatting it into a finished lyric. I add, remove or change sections from the notes where needed. 


I studied the craft of lyric writing at university. The laptop stage is where I try to incorporate this knowledge. I never worry about this during the first draft, when it’s more important to get ideas down.


Then I leave the lyric for 3-7 days, so I can edit it with fresh eyes. This is important. I’ve always regretted making lyrics public having skipped this step. 


Here’s the finished Loud and Seventeen.


Also, check out the other participant’s songs. Late entries might be added soon.


How do you feel about getting older? Let me know!


You can now support my blog on Patreon. Patrons get discounts on my lyric writing services. Regular clients can make significant savings this way. To learn more, here’s a blog post on why I joined Patreon as a lyricist.

Do You Need Lyrics to Set to Music?

If you like starting with lyrics, and want to collaborate with a lyricist, please browse my work on Songbay. If you find a lyric you like, you can license it online. I license each lyric only once. After you claim a lyric, I remove it from Songbay and it's exclusively yours to use.​

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Photography by Patrick Shanahan (www.shanahanphotos.com) & Katariina Jarvinen (www.lighttrick.co.uk)

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