Making my own lyrics - any tips?

Hi everyone,

I am currently learning a German fingerstyle song that turns out to be a lot more difficult than I first thought (read: a lot faster). But I know how to get there with metronome and practice. The challenge I need help with is writing my own lyrics for it, because I want to perform it for my mum when she retires.

Has anyone here any experience with this kind of thing, and maybe some general tips, since most of you won’t know the language for specifics?

For everyone who speaks German, the song is ‘Über den Wolken’ von Reinhard Mey, and for everyone who does not know the song or the performer, he writes very down to earth and thought-out lyrics, where every word counts and fits together beautifully, and his songs often tell stories. I know I cannot compete with that, but I am trying to come as close as I possibly can.

This is the song, btw

I know my story, I have some good lines already, and a lot of meh ones, and I decided to prioritise story and good language over rhymes at all costs. But I feel there is more to it. Maybe you can help me?


Hey Eva,

Non-German speaker here that hasn’t written any songs yet, but adding @Lisa_S to your thread… she’s a German speaker who recently posted an original that was really interesting with a great feel!!!
Good luck!!!


P.S. Sorry Lisa for calling you out but I think your passion for music may help Eva!!!


This is right up Brian’s alley. I don’t think he know the lyrics to a single song. He’s alway changing the words
I wouldn’t be surprised to find out he also knows some German.


Hi Eva,

I have been writing a lot of song lyrics lately, so I’m happy to try to offer some advice. While I’ve never taken an existing song and re-written the lyrics (and I don’t know any German :laughing:) I can offer some general tips of what I like to do and hopefully some of it will work for you too :grin:

You mentioned that you had some lyrics you thought of already. I usually start with one line that I really like that I feel has some “punch” to it and work the other lines around that one. Having a focal point really helps me.

I also decide upfront if I want the lyrics to rhyme or not. It helps to keep me focused. Since you are replacing lines to an existing song, you will want to make sure your syllable length of each line stays as close as possible to the original so it doesn’t sound like you are trying to cram in words where they don’t fit.

If you are really stuck, it can help to pull out your guitar and just do some simple strumming to the basic chords and literally just sing along with whatever words come to mind. I ended up writing about 70% of one song doing this :laughing:

Good luck! You’ll do great! :+1:t2:


Hi Tod,

no need to apologize, I’m always happy to help and feel honoured I’m the first person I came to your mind in this regard. :smiley: Thanks a lot for that, it really means quite a lot to me! :slight_smile:


Hi Eva,

as another fan of Reinhard’s music and someone who has written own lyrics to originals but also to existing songs, I am always happy to support. Being another German will surely help, too. :grin:

So, if you are up to it, feel free to reach out. Your mom will be sooooo happy and proud, what a lovely idea. :slight_smile:


Hey Beanie!
I’m glad that you’re glad!!!
I’m regularly impressed with the compassionate attitude you show in the posts where you are helping others! You are such a positive person here in this Community!!!


1 Like

@CATMAN62 and @stitch Thanks for shouting out to helpful people, I appreciate the help :+1:t5:

@Jenndye429 Thank you so much for your helpful tips.

That’s a really helpful suggestion. Now that I think about it, it’s pretty much how I found the two verses I’m already somewhat happy with. Maybe if I do this consciously for the next verses, it’ll get me over the slump I’m in with the project.

The original rhymes in the verses, but I decided it’s more important to me what I am saying, instead of finding rhymes at all costs.

@Lisa_S Thank you so much for offering I really appreciate it! Can I send you a private message somehow? I’m not sure how to do that.


Jeff Tweedy’s book How To Write One Song has a number of interesting ideas about building up your collection of lyrical ideas. (Probably more of a general reply than specifically useful here)

This page shares a number of them: Writing Exercises from Jeff Tweedy's Book, How To Write One Song — Payton Hayes Writing & Editing Services