ASCAP’s Playback magazine has a great interview with hit songwriter extraordinaire Desmond Child (Clay Aiken “Invisible”, Aerosmith “Dude Looks Like a Lady”, Bon Jovi “You Give Love a Bad Name”, Kelly Clarkson “Before Your Love”, Ricky Martin “Livin’ la Vida Loca”). Child is an expert at co-writing and has some great tips for budding and pro songwriters alike.
His main songwriting method is to find a great title and then write lyrics that support the idea behind the title. I can see how this helps focus several people toward the same goal. There’s a much bigger chance of having a fruitful co-writing session this way.
Songwriting also runs in his family as he mentions remembering how his mom used to place her songs herself. Apparently, she’s still getting checks for these efforts.