Sometimes I like to write a paragraph or two of what I think my song-in-progress is about. It’s not because I think I’ll come to any real conclusion. It’s because I’m trying to get my brain to give me words around a particular topic.
Once I was trying to write a song about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. But I didn’t have enough language surrounding the topic, so I wrote a paragraph. Then I searched Wikipedia and read about the oil spill. I learned words and was reminded of others I’d forgotten. I wrote a few more paragraphs.
Little word pools are helpful because, as you’re writing lyrics, you can pull material from them you might not have otherwise come up with.
Bonus tip: Take the paragraph you just wrote, copy and paste it into a program like wordclouds.com or something similar. It will give you a visual of the most repeated nouns, helping you see the idea in a new way. This may help spark an idea or move the song in a new direction.