The best song ideas can come out of anywhere and everyone will agree on this fact. The best songs are written out of the blue most of the times. I mean the idea for your next song can hit you literally anywhere and anytime. You have to be on alert 24 by 7 to catch an idea and turn it into an amazing song. But, you need to keep writing. That’s how you get better at the craft. And that’s where you can’t wait for inspiration. What I mean to say is, even if you don’t have a new idea, don’t sit and wait for it to appear out of no where. Find an inspiration instead, and start working on it. Who knows, you might even churn out the next hit! So here are some tried and tested ways to find inspiration for your next song, when you are stuck and have no ideas to work on. Background image used: Background vector created by coolvector – www.freepik.com
1. In your memos and voice notes
This seems like the first obvious choice to me, because I record and note down every thing, even the silliest of things that occur to me. And I tend to forget about all the memos and notes most of the times. If you don’t have a habit of recording everything that comes to your mind, I mean not literally everything, but useful things in the context of songwriting and things you find interesting, you should consider doing it. And if you have the habit of doing so, just take a look at your notes and listen to your voice memos. Chances are, you will find something which can be turned into a song.
If you are anything like me, your voice notes and memos are full of many things. So, it’s very much likely that out of all the ideas that you’ve saved, one or two probably skipped your mind, and there they are, resting inside your phone, waiting for their turn to be crafted into a masterpiece!
2. Flip through your journal
Again, if you don’t maintain a journal, I highly recommend you to start doing it. Journaling helps you a ton with songwriting. Be it to keep a record of your day, to pour down your feelings, or to track your songwriting journey, there are so many things in a journal that can help you write better songs. So if you don’t maintain one, start doing it. Assuming that you maintain a journal, I’m gonna tell you that when you are stuck with no ideas for a new song, pick up your journal, flip through it, find an interesting journal entry and start writing a song about it!
3. Songwriting Prompts
To be completely honest, I used to feel that songwriting prompts are lame. Nobody has written a hit using any songwriting prompts. But man I was completely wrong. While there are multiple factors affecting whether you write a hit song or not, songwriting prompts definitely help you in a lot of ways. First, it can help you keep going when you have no ideas for a new song. And second, you will learn how to turn a word, phrase, or any kind of prompt into a song, which is really helpful as it helps you grow in terms of elaborating a new concept and writing a song about it. While you do the same thing with your own ideas, prompts are a bit different because they can be things which you never would have thought of otherwise, thus forcing you to think from a different perspective and to get out of your regular songwriting habits. And the best part here, songwriting prompts are just one Pinterest search away!
“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” – Scott Adams . And that is why, you keep writing without waiting for an idea to strike.
4. Journal prompts
Just a few hours before writing this post, I was scrolling through Pinterest and came across some journal prompts like ‘What are you thankful for?’, ‘Write about a place you call home’, etc. Previously I’ve used such prompts to write in my journal, but it was today that I thought I can even write songs about them. So I picked one prompt, ‘share a childhood memory’, and started writing a song about. And after that I decided to write this post about ways to find inspiration for your next song as well.
So how to go about it? Head over to Pinterest, search for journal prompts, pick one and start writing. You can directly start your song by doing some brainstorming, or you can write a journal entry about it first and then move forward with song. Whatever floats your boat!
5. The Dictionary
This is one of the most interesting ways to find inspiration for your next song. I’ve also mentioned about it in one my previous posts, 5 Ways to generate songwriting ideas that work every time. It’s pretty easy! Take a dictionary, open a page at random, select a word from it and start writing about it. You can also gather multiple randomly selected words and try making connections between them, and then write a song from whatever you interpret. Pretty interesting, isn’t it? Then go try it out yourself!
6. Visual prompts
Visual prompts are another amazing stimuli to write something you’ve never written before. And they turn out to be great songwriting prompts as well. I’ve never actually tried using visual prompts but I think it’s an interesting way to write songs and I’m gonna try it out soon. You can search for visual songwriting prompts on Pinterest, or select an image from any place you like and start writing your next song.
7. Rewrite a song
Rewriting a song means taking a song’s theme and rewriting it in your words, with a new melody. While this is a great songwriting exercise, rewriting a song can give you an amazing new song in itself or at least something which can be turned into an amazing song. It’s also easier to do because you already have the content. You just have to rephrase it according to your perception. Change the scale, progression, structure, rhythm, etc. Experiment with the whole thing. At the end you’ll either have an amazing song totally different from the original, or you’ll have some cool concepts to work upon, eventually giving you multiple ideas for your next song.
8. Write a song about your favourite scene from a movie or a book
This is one of my personal favourite from all the ways to find inspiration for your next song. List down some of your favourite scenes from a movie or a book, pick the one that excites you the most at that moment and write a song about it. Really interesting, because you already love the scene you’ve picked, and really easy, because you have the whole thing in front of you to write it down. The song can either narrate the situation of the scene, or describe a particular feeling from it. It can be anything that comes to your mind while watching or reading the scene.
9. Create a list of 100
Take a pen and a notebook and sit down somewhere peaceful. Set a time limit and start making a list of 100. It can be a list of 100 things you love, 100 things that make you happy, 100 things you love about someone, 100 words you love, etc. Don’t worry if 100 seems too much to think about because that’s what we need here. To get our mind running, to open it up. Out of the list you’ve made, you are going to find multiple ideas for your next song. If not out the list, it’s highly possible that your brain will get triggered while making the list or after completing it, giving you something to write a song about. If you find something mid-way, you can stop making the list and start writing the song because that’s what we needed in the first place. Or you can complete the list first if you think it might give you more ideas. I’ll prefer the latter.
10. Read something
I know it sounds vague! But it’s worth a try. And it can bring in a few ideas to write about. Read a poem, a chapter from a novel, an interesting article, etc. Note down all the words, phrases, sentences that you like. Do it till you find something which can get you started.
And with that said, that’s all. These were some ways to find inspiration for your next song. I will update the list if I mind some more interesting ways. Till then, keep writing, and remember to take a break every now and then to keep your mind fresh. A fresh mind is more open to creativity. Happy Songwriting folks!
Also check out: 8 Reasons to write everyday