I write my music two different ways...

One way that I write music is to find a good chord progression either by looking it up online or bumping into it during "chord transition practice," and just strum it out on rhythm guitar so that it has the beat & vibe that I'm looking for. I'm aware of places that need transitions and such, but there's no real focus on that at this point.

Then I figure out a melody on lead. The melody is raw, basic, simple...somewhat like a "basic scale exercise" type of deal, but not exactly. Then I'm using altered starting/stopping points for various barres. Think of working your way up the scale and then back down using one particular basic scale drill. Dumb it down, and then start repeating notes in a way that's not done in that scale exercise at various points in the "drill." Then I'm mixing in stuff like: 3 barres up the scale, 1 barre down...then do it four times and the last barre down now resolves ("ends") on a different interval.

Then the melody has to take me around the fretboard, keeping the need to write a vocal melody in mind. Now I'm just moving around the fretboard following that "vibe" that I created...making minor adjustments here and there to add tension and relief. To me, adding tension and relief - at this point - brings in a huge focus on the yet-unwritten vocal melody.

Now I've got a boring piece of crap that sounds good...but is way too boring.

Now it's time to start adding licks in the lead guitar AND fills/transitions on rhythm. This adds some interest to the song. Then it's time to figure out when to say that I've done enough, and also figure out the ending if I haven't already.

Another version of this is to find the right amp settings that match my mood, and just start hammering out power chords. Get the strumming pattern and chord progression, and rock the casbah...with WAAAAAAAY more snort than The Clash! Then it's on to the same lead guitar writing style.

It almost never works for me when I go the other way around: find a riff on lead and start from there...THEN find the rhythm guitar.

I really just started writing my own music in the last couple of years, and I've got 16 songs that I need to finish and record. I've only got a few that I question...I don't keep 'em if they suck, so these might be gone someday. NONE of them have lyrics written yet.

However, I've got two songs that I've got the concept for the lyrics down and the story to tell, along with some catchy phrases, and ideas to inspire more catchy phrases. The story I'm thinking of for them just doesn't match any music that I've written so far, so I need to come up with two more melodies. But I might be wrong; I might actually have the melody going for those two...I just need to let the lyrics hit the page and find out.