Over the past few weeks, if you've logged into any social media platform then you've seen at least one person post a series of black, yellow and green squares. For those of you who don't know (although I don't think anyone doesn't know anymore), Wordle is a simple word game where players get 6 attempts to guess the 5 letter word of the day. When you enter a 5 letter word, squares will either light up black, yellow or green:
Black: the letter in that square isn't in the word of the day
Yellow: the letter appears in the word but in a different place
Green: the letter is in the word and in the correct space.
You can see my world-class example below...
One thing I like about Wordle is the simplicity, but it has its moments where it can really get your brain going and have you scratching your head. I was thinking the other day about what games like this do for us and I really believe that games such as Wordle can have positive outcomes for songwriters. While I myself don't particularly write songs very much, I often find myself in studio sessions helping musicians to get over one or two lines that aren't quite where there yet. Whether it's altering a couple of words in a line to make it fit or whether it's finding the right words to convey a message being made in a song.
Extending Your Vocabulary
The more words a songwriter knows, the more ways a songwriter can portray a message in their song. The more options a songwriter has, the better the overall quality of the writing is likely to be. However, this isn't just about learning new words, this is also about bringing words you would never normally think of back to the front of your mind. Like many other aspects of life, we fall into habits and our language is the same - we fall into habits of using particular words or putting our messages across a specific kind of way. Opening up our minds to new words or even old words we don't normally use is a fantastic way to give yourself options as a songwriter and flex those brain muscles.
I do want to provide an example here: whether he's your cup of tea or not, Eminem is widely regarded as one of the best lyricists of all time - in the video below, Eminem explains that he used to read the dictionary (in fact, he still does) because he wants to have the most tools in his arsenal as a songwriter.
Learning to Work With Limitations
The whole point of Wordle, as with any other word game is the limitations you have. The further you get through the game - the fewer options you have. As a songwriter, you are bound by the number of syllables, the rhyming scheme, the style etc., all of those can pose threats to the options you have for lyrics. In Wordle, those limitations tend to work to your advantage, even if it feels like they don't. The fewer options that you have, the closer you are to finding the one word you need.
At face value, this might seem almost counter-intuitive to the 'Extending Your Vocabulary' point but they actually go hand-in-hand. Having more options to work with opens the doors to the possibilities, but in the end - you have to work with the limitations and being able to do so comes with the end result of (hopefully) the best possible lyrics at your disposal.
Get Those Creative Juices Flowing
I start every day by doing a puzzle - whether it's Wordle, a crossword, Sudoku or something else, even if I struggle I make sure I get my brain going every day before I get out of bed (even before my morning coffee). Most puzzles are simply just problem solving, just presented in a variety of different ways. Each problem has a solution but, how you come to those solutions is pretty much entirely up to you. I find that creatively solving problems whilst working with the limitations provided really helps to get those creative juices flowing.
As a songwriter - your brain is your biggest asset and making sure your brain is operating at a high capacity gives you by far the best chance of succeeding and creating something great. Using games like Wordle to start revving the engines in your brain could provide a great push to begin writing.
If you want to play Wordle, you can do so here: https://www.powerlanguage.co.uk/wordle/
Do you agree with the points above? I want to hear your thoughts. Follow us on social media and let us know what you think. If you're a writer, whether that's songs or not - tell us how you take care of your brain and work to perfect your craft!
Oh, and if you do play Wordle, show us your stats!
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