The Second Verse Curse: did you knew exactly what I was talking about the moment you read that?
It’s that moment when you’ve finished your first verse, and rocked through your chorus and then.. what? What’s next?
You feel stuck as soon as you get to the second verse.
Frustrating, isn’t it?
As annoying as this hurdle is, it happens to everyone. And I’m going to share with you some tips on why it happens how to move past it!
All songwriters have experienced the giant hurdle that is the Second Verse Curse.
They key component in breaking the Second Verse Curse is not to let it win. Here’s now you can push past it:
1. Ask yourself: Have I given away too much, too soon?
You may feel the song naturally stopping right at the end of the chorus because the song may feel “complete” at this point. Is this because you perhaps told the entire story in the first verse and chorus?
To fix this, let’s break down your story into two parts – first verse, and second verse. What details can you add to the first verse to tell more of the story? Find ways to draw out your first verse – and I don’t just mean adding filler lines, I mean impactful lines! The goal is not to make it longer, but to tell more of the story.
Draw out the good stuff. Use sensory language to paint a vivid, emotive picture in your listeners mind. Then you can write your second verse as a continuation of the story.
As for your chorus, sometimes it can he helpful to think of your chorus as the summary of your song. You can use your verses for the storytelling, for providing rich detail. Your choruses can be the package that holds it all together (and your hook is the bow that ties it up).
2. Write your verses together.
If the second Verse Curse is common for you, try this: When you start writing your next song, start it by writing your verses all at once. Write your first verse, then, instead of going to your chorus, write your second verse.
You’ll be in the flow of writing verses, and that will make it easier to come up with you second, third, and maybe even third and fourth verses! If you find you’ve written more verses than you need, that’s even better. You can pick and choose which ones are the strongest, and potentially even borrow some lines for your chorus or other parts of your song.
3. Take a break.
Bet you didn’t see that coming! That’s right, take a break from it, love.
There’s no shame in stepping back for a moment and switching gears to a small, maybe even mindless task. Do something that separates you from the song Go put a load of laundry in the washer. Make yourself a cup of tea. Step outside and feel the sunshine on your face. Take a shower, even! Make it brief, and make it physical. Remove yourself from the room where the song is waiting, and go do something else for a moment.
This changes your perspective and keeps you from sweating it out, while allowing your subconscious to keep working on the song.
4. For the love of God, don’t get on social media.
Pleasssse. Remember how I said you could step away and complete a small, mindless task? Checking your newsfeed does not count as small or mindless.
Social media is a giant timesuck. Do yourself a favor and don’t even be tempted to log in and check your notifications. Same goes for email. It’s never going to take you the 2 seconds you think it will. You’ll find yourself getting whisked away into distraction-land and you’ll wind up with another song you never finished.
5. Come back to it tomorrow. (But really, come back to it!)
If you’ve tried all of the above and nothing is giving, then you may be at the point of diminishing returns. If you’re feeling spent and frustrated, call it for the day and come back to it at another time.
Keep what you have and put it aside. Come back to it tomorrow, or at another designated time. Schedule a writing appointment with yourself in your calendar. The key to this is: you actually have to come back to it! Don’t let the song sit for ages, woefully incomplete.
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