As the dumb title says, I'd really like to better my songwriting off. A premise, I've been reading all "songwriting advice" threads so far, so I'll try to get specific. Well, I'll try to explain my own approach and situation. I don't usually "force" myself to write (like in a "now I'll write something" attitude), or force myself in a certain mindset, or try to write from some predetermined visual imagery. I think all of the above just doesn't work for me. I usually either just noodle around and then start working around an idea once it gets surfacing; or write down a riff I've been humming\hearing in my head and then try to develop from there; or I usually come to accidentally write stuff while applying some theoretical concepts on the fretboard. In any case, the process is pretty accidental. Then I usually record a scratch of what I'm doing and try to tab it down as soon as possible. I'm used to give some sort of label to recordings as to remember the general vibe and mood behind it, as for example "2015-08-25, thrashy riff WIP". Now on to my main problems: 1. Once I get to compose anything, I can't arrange stuff for sh*t. I have really poor theory knowledge as I'm self-taught, I'm still stuck with basic intervals so I rarely know which scales I'm using (apart from the most obvious ones: major, natural minor, and harmonic minor. For instance, I think I totally forgot the modes by now...) and I am even more rarely able to figure out the key I'm playing it, except for really super basic chord progressions. I usually play by ear. The result of this is that all my ideas lying around are all single, separated and monophonic (or I'd better say, one-track?) ideas of a bunch of seconds in lenght, usually for the maximum lenght of 1 minute. Maybe a couple of riffs or chord progressions. Then I'm stuck, I don't know how to bring them forward or what to layer upon them, and they get buried back in dust as I write a new idea, and the circle goes. I've been able to get two "songs" in the works, but sooner or later I got stuck and kept them unfinished. So, first note to self: study theory better to know what you're doing. Maybe it will help your arrangements. 2. I suck at building themes and repetition. That's a (positively found, I think) problem I've been figuring out lately. Given that my early guitar years were ruled by prog metal, and other tech metal in general, I used to hate repetition. A riff repeating for more than 2 times would drive me crazy and bore me instantly. So I underestimated the power of repetition and always felt the fear that writing repetitive stuff will bore everyone else too, ignoring that any pop song for instance (pop especially, but any song in any style, really) has on average some repetition of a progression\riff\melody\whatever that help building a theme, a structure around it, and help the listener be hooked in. So disregarding this principle, I educated my brain in ignoring repetition and always adding something different. Also, due to the fact I'm not confident at all in writing songs for more than one instrument at a time (again, I feel like I can't arrange, see above), the lack of elements and timbre variety would drive the anti-repetition mindset even harder. The result is first that I can't write concise and simple songs with a few chords; and the second is that my most developed and long ideas don't go anywhere since I keep adding and changing stuff, or even key (when I know what I'm doing), so the logic in it disappears fast. For instance, the last sort-of-song I wrote started in a mellow Pink Floyd vibe and ended (or better, I left it there for lack of ideas, see above) as a wacky Dillinger Escape Plan song full of diminished chords, in the key of who-knows. So another note to self: the repetitions\theme thing is something I need to re-educate myself on. Then, basing on my above reflection, what are your suggestions? This is what I'm feeling right now, if I feel something's missing I'll expand on it later.