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A lyricist or lyrist is a person who writes lyrics—words for songs—as opposed to a composer, who writes the song's melody.

A lyricist's income derives from royalties received from original songs. Royalties may range from 50% of the song if it was written primarily with the composer, or less if they wrote the song in collaboration. Songs are automatically copyrighted as soon as they are in tangible form, such as a recording or sheet music. However, before a song is published or made public, its author or publisher should register it with the Copyright Office at the U.S. Library of Congress to better protect against copyright infringement.

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When it comes to being a lyricist, there are some basic guidelines about a song's lyrical structure that you can follow when writing a song. Remember that those are just suggestions and not set in stone rules. Be creative when you are writing songs so that you can infuse who you are into your work. After all, you are writing a song with some kind of message, so you are the one who decides how the message is presented. Have fun, and prove to yourself and others that your writing skills are limitless. Here is an example of a humorous song I wrote, that came about through creative thinking, some self-deprecating fun, and using some song-structure basics but not letting structure dominate the creation of the song: Photogenic Atrocity Snap Snap Flash Flash Get that camera out of my eyes. Smash Smash Crack Crack You can’t fool me with that poisoned guise. Stab Stab Slash Slash Your lens is just another prying eye Bash Bash Whack Whack And I am just another soulless flame. Chorus: I’m just another photogenic atrocity Looking like someone has just burnt my knee Every smile looks like absolute misery My eyes are as dead as an uprooted tree I ain’t no agency’s modeling dream My own reflection just makes me scream I’ve never been no hipster king Ready to dazzle like some royalty’s bling bling I’m like some broken down Ken doll Take one look and your skin will crawl I can’t transcend no glass boundary But no one else is as free as me Chorus My appearance is quite the quandary From small to big, like a creature in some scientist’s hatchery My own mirror is a black duct tape masterpiece I just don’t like anything that I see Chorus You seem to tantalize others with that cold screen Selling bloodied lies like golden velveteen Capturing their gaze like some teen beauty queen Too much orange like a vat of pure carotene I’m part of that Anti-Hollywood image scene Immune to the false promises of the American Dream All the pretty cameras are like recurring nightmares Taking pictures is the one thing that truly scares Down Down go the broken stone pillars Bye Bye go those seeking the stars Peace has come for those seeking amnesty Relief has come for this photogenic atrocity Chorus I live to run yet another day Smiling as the mob has gone away

Contributed by Omar Vega

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