Using Object Writing for Amazing Lyrics Composition

Using Object Writing for Amazing Lyrics Composition Using Object Writing for Amazing Lyrics Composition

So many of us connect deeply with music due to the transformative power of lyrics, often transporting us directly within a scene through the songwriter's world-building skills. One songwriting technique, coined object writing, can help any songwriter connect with their sense of imagery. Practicing object writing can help any musician become a better songwriter, but how do you get started?

Below, we'll outline the main concepts behind object writing so that you can take your compositions to the next level. We'll also go over the seven senses featured in this object writing technique so that you can start connecting your observations to the world around you.

What is Object Writing?

Object writing, sometimes called sense bound writing, is a technique that focuses on describing objects utilizing the "seven senses". The term "object writing" is thought to be coined by Berklee College of Music professor Pat Pattison in his text Writing Better Lyrics . Objects are to be described with visual imagery including the following sense categories:


Describes the flavor or taste of the object.


What does your object look like? How does it look in relation to other objects within a scene?


What smells are associated with your object? How does this smell contrast with the setting around the object?


What textures are on or within your object? What is its weight or temperature?


This describes the sounds associated with an object, or any noises surrounding the object within a scene.

Organic Sense

Organic sense relates to feelings or inner bodily functions evoked in reaction to an object. This could be experiencing sensations like warmth, muscle tension, or disgust, for instance.

Kinesthetic Sense

This is used to describe the motion applied to an object or created by an object. Is the object being held? Is it hanging? Where is it as it relates to motion?

Note that not all senses need to be used in every object writing exercise, but the seven senses serve as your full palette for describing objects.

Examples of Object Writing in Music

Pinpointing object writing in popular music can be subjective, since we don't know what methods each songwriter used to assemble their thoughts into lyrics. Even so, here are some songs with vivid object and subject imagery that illustrate how this technique can be so effective:

Happiness is a Butterfly by Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey is no stranger to vivid imagery. In Happiness is a Butterfly , the flying, fickle nature of the insect is the perfect metaphor for a state of contentment:

Fireworks by Mitski

In Mitski's Fireworks, the object writing surrounding the fireworks suggests an emotional explosion. The subject serves as a metaphor for the speaker's internal state:

Buzzcut Season by Lorde

Buzzcut Season by Lorde focuses on the freedom of summer, centering on the ceremonial act of cutting hair. It's another vehicle to explore the speaker's adolescence and transition into adulthood:

Bruises Off the Peach by Ryan Beatty

This beautiful, sensitive work, uses object writing surrounding a bruised peach to explore the speaker's vulnerability and spirit of self-exploration. The centering of the peach serves as an excellent metaphor for the speaker's internal state of mind:

Why is Object Writing So Effective?

In order to use object writing effectively, it's important to understand why the technique tends to be so effective. Here are just a few reasons why professional songwriters use object-focused lyric writing as a part of their process:

Learning to Notice More

Object writing naturally forces us to become a bit more in tune with the world around us. By using the seven senses to describe and define subjects, particularly inanimate objects, will help you think more abstractly. It can help you unlock observations in your day-to-day life which may serve as the foundation for your next song.

Creating Immersive Experiences for Listeners

It's no surprise that sense-bound writing can be equally evocative for listeners as it is for the author of a piece. Sensory language and specific details can allow your listeners to become lost in the world of your music.

Taking You Back to the Center of the Scene

Recalling sensory feelings can help you identify additional details you might have forgotten otherwise by serving as valuable memory cues. Even if you don't base the main subject of your song on the selected object written, you can still get plenty of interesting ideas by working this strategy into your process.

How to Use the Object Writing Exercise In Your Songwriting Process

It's time to use object writing in your own creations! Follow these steps to work object writing into your process:

Get in Touch with Your Senses

Start to notice what sorts of objects evoke strong feelings or connections. This will vary from one person to the next, but it could be something as simple as your mother's perfume, a cup of black coffee, or a ripe fruit on a summer's day. Think of how these objects play into your sonic landscape and what the world around them looks and feels like.

Brainstorm Beyond the Evocative Subjects

Run through the seven senses to ensure you've extrapolated as much as you can from the subject itself. Start to make connections to what you typically associate with that object. Consider how you want to interact with your object within your particular sonic landscape.

Focus and Write for 10 Minutes

Once you have a good idea of what you want to write about, set a timer and write for ten minutes, being as free-flowing as possible. These ideas do not have to be perfectly formed song lyrics by any means, your goal at this stage is to write as much sensory language as you can about your subject without constraint. Do not worry about grammar, spelling, or anything else - you'll polish these ideas in the next steps.

Review and Reflect

Go back through your brainstorm and pick out the parts that feel the most pertinent to the feeling you're trying to convey. Highlight or bold these excerpts and see if there is any way you can expand on these ideas, or explore phrasing with a bit more musicality.

Incorporate Your Ideas Into Your Songwriting Technique

Now that you've mined for these details, it's time to incorporate these ideas into a song. You don't have to use all of your ideas, but you may find that your brainstorm has revealed a common theme. Slowly turn your select phrases into lyrics or concepts to serve as inspiration for the body of your track.

Object Writing FAQs

Object writing can help you extract great songwriting ideas from mundane situations. Here are some commonly asked questions and answers to help you optimize this technique:

What is object writing in music?

Object writing is the process of using vivid imagery to describe an object within a musical context. This method helps songwriters focus on sight, smell, taste, touch, hearing, organic sense, and kinesthetic sense in their work.

Who invented object writing?

Object writing is a songwriting technique invented by a Berklee College of Music professor, Pat Pattison. Beyond this technique, artists have been using vivid imagery in music since songwriting was first conceived.

What are the seven senses of writing?

The seven senses of object writing include sight, smell, taste, touch, hearing, along with the organic sense and kinesthetic sense. Each of these senses and how they relate to object writing are outlined above as needed.

Object writing is an amazing tool for any songwriter's toolbox, enabling you to extrapolate sensory language from just about any situation. Enjoy putting this technique to good use as you churn out new song ideas.

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