Finding Songwriting Inspiration - Where to begin?
Updated: Mar 9, 2020
Inspiration usually hits me when I'm least expecting it -- in the shower or when I'm in commuter traffic & in those cases, I'm not usually equipped w/the proper writing tools. I'll reach for my cell (years ago, I used a digital recorder) & just hum/sing the tune or note down lyrics if I'm not hearing a melody as well. Either way, having a plan for when a creative spark strikes is imperative to keep from losing your ideas & kicking yourself later.
For me, songwriting is like a muscle -- every week, I regularly block out time to focus on 3 areas: lyric writing, music production, practicing keyboard & guitar. You could swap out one or more for melody writing, music theory, filmmaking (if that's a creative goal) just to keep your month well-rounded....really it's about honing your craft while learning new skills to keep the momentum going.
I find song inspiration mostly through life experiences, but art, pop culture, nature, movies, books and exercising (yep!) have also ignited that one little creative spark to send me into a productive songwriting session.
Here are some other ideas for how to start when you're feeling blocked:
Base your song around visuals; this is where nature comes in, but hey, Pinterest or a Google search also works!
Pick a random sound from a sound bank or play a chord progression on your keyboard or guitar & commit. The end goal with this is to practice; you don't have to like the finished product.
Remix a track you've already finished
Write with an instrument you don't usually play; this could be coming from a sound bank or random objects in your house (ex: can of beans & wooden spoon combo).
Go to a concert, festival, open mic, coffee house -- get yourself out of your normal writing environment & soak in what's around you!
Collaborate with a friend! Most of the people I know in music I found through online music education courses, but if you know someone you can meet up with in-person, even better!
I hope these ideas help you in your songwriting journey! Until next time, keep your ears open & your pen ready!