A few years ago at a Sojourn Music songwriting seminar, Jamie Barnes (who is now our East Campus Worship Pastor) led us in an exercise that I think you’ll enjoy. We broke into groups of four, and Jamie said
“Two of you make a list of five interesting adjectives. The other two make a list of five interesting nouns. Do it without knowing what each pair is doing.”
After a few minutes each pair then shared and combined their adjectives and nouns. The groups then each presented their most interesting combinations to everyone. The combinations included:
- Iridescent kitty-litter
- Exhausted zylophone
- Nervous park
- Pearly nose-bleed
- Irreverent skin
- Hungry butcher knife
- Sore shingle
- Sickening well
- Sleepy barnyard
- Stellar Jesus
It’s a fun, simple lesson in coloring outside the lines with metaphor. Some of them make sense. A butcher knife is hungry in the sense that it carves into meat. Irreverent skin might describe someone whose body is covered in tattoos with blasphemous slogans. And a park can be nervous if the people in it find out that a serial killer is hiding there, or a tiger from the zoo has escaped into the park. Although in those scenarios, maybe panicked would be a better adjective. And Jesus, well, he’s always stellar.
Have your writing community try this exercise together. You never know what you’ll come up with, but at least you’ll stretch your mind.
Write your nouns and adjectives on index cards, keeping them separated into two stacks. Turn the index cards face down, and then pair off each card from the noun pile with a card from the adjective pile.
Songwriting Exercise Variation:
- Brainstorm different combinations of nouns and verbs, rather than nouns and adjectives.
- Take any combination and try to write an entire line, sentence, verse or paragraph with it
Thank you for reading our post. You can download our 4-song worship album “The Whole Big Story” for free in the top-right sidebar of this website. We’ve also heard from many churches who have enjoyed leading these songs in worship services. If you’d like to do so, download free chord sheets from the “Gilles Music” tab at the top of this page. And you can subscribe to this blog for free by clicking the RSS icon or signing up via email in the right-hand sidebar.
– Bobby & Kristen
Post Footer automatically generated by Add Post Footer Plugin for wordpress.