Tackling The Brick Wall: 42 Creative Ways To Find Songwriting Inspiration
Lost your songwriting mojo?
Creativity can have its limitations, especially if you’re stuck in a rut and are struggling to get the creative juices flowing.
It can be irritating, doing nothing but tapping your pen on your notepad waiting for a show-stopping idea to magically appear.
The truth is we all hit this brick wall. And most of us will just stare at it blankly hoping it will eventually disappear.
But unless you want to wait hundreds of years for the wall to erode, you’ll need to find another solution.
Below I’ve put together a list of 42 ideas to help you find or get back your songwriting mojo.
Read and enjoy the post!
- 7 ways to find songwriting inspiration in nature
- 7 ways to find songwriting inspiration from forms of media
- 7 ways to find songwriting inspiration in your home
- 7 ways to find songwriting inspiration in people
- 7 ways to find songwriting inspiration in yourself
- 7 ways to find songwriting inspiration in activities
- It’s your turn
7 ways to find songwriting inspiration in nature
Go get yourself some fresh air
Go for a short but mindful walk. Take in the surroundings and smells. Feel the breeze on your face.
It’s amazing how a quick walk can refresh your mind and body.
Watch wildlife outside your window or whilst on your daily travels
Notice how the birds swoop? Or how carefully spiders spin their webs?
Draw on these motions and their interactions.
A very relaxing activity you can do outside is cloud watch.
Look at their shapes and movements, what do they remind you of?
Take a camera when you go out
Take pictures of items you see outside, whether it’s animals, insects or just buildings and floor textures. Later view the photos you took, how do they make you feel?
Take a vacation
Yes please, every weekend to the Bahamas!
Regardless of where you go if at all possible, a vacation/retreat will reignite your creativity because of your new surroundings and because of your mood.
Don’t we all feel excited when a holiday approaches?
Search the web for nature photos or places of interest
Sometimes you can’t go where you desire, therefore Google is a useful tool to find inspiring photos.
Listen to nature based music
Get lost in the sounds of the Amazon rainforest, or birds chirping. Make yourself one with the sounds and see where your imagination takes you.
7 ways to find songwriting inspiration from forms of media
Browse through inspirational quotes
These are amazing for boosting your motivation. Sometimes to be inspired, all we need is to read inspiring quotes.
Watch a TV series or a film
Can’t get inspiration from yourself or surroundings? Watch TV. With the amount of TV shows, films, YouTube videos you’re bound to find something that sparks your interest.
Podcasts are an excellent way to listen to words, as most of the time there is no visual element to coincide with them.
Your lyrics will be sung, so this is a great way to learn what words sound nice when spoken. ‘Ointment’ looks fine on paper, but will it sound nice when sung?
Listen to unfamiliar music
Broaden your understanding of music and listen to other genres and how they structure their songs.
It doesn’t matter what industry they’re from, we all use similar techniques when trying to become inspired. See what works for them and try it yourself.
Not only is poetry beautiful to read, it creates a visual representation in your mind. Check out different poets and how they structure their pieces.
Use questions as inspiration
What are people questioning? What do you question?
Checking out Quora is a useful way to figure out what people want to learn more about. You can use their questions as an idea for your next song.
7 ways to find songwriting inspiration in your home
Invade the cupboards and have a snack
Distract your mind briefly and have a yoghurt or a biscuit (or both) etc. The brief distraction will allow your mind to rest.
Look at your surroundings
Staring at your PC screen or a notepad isn’t going to help make words appear, and eye strain hurts!
Focus on a different object, whether it’s an item in your room or something outside. Change your gaze and let your eyes wander.
Use items as your foundation
Sometimes we think too hard about creating something unique and original off the top of our head. So let items in your room help your creative river flow.
What’s its purpose? Why is it special? What does it mean to you? Why is it here? Then transcribe it into something people can relate to.
Change your surroundings whilst writing
We all have habits. I tend to write lyrics for about 20 minutes before I go to bed, when I’m very sleepy. In the morning I’m either super impressed or questioning my sanity.
The point is, sometimes a certain area can make us behave in a particular way.
It’s the same with songwriting. Be in a room you hate, you’ll most likely end up writing an angry song.
Clear away distractions
Turn off your phone. Turn off your PC. Clear your desk and any unnecessary items (I love my penguin timer but it’s only there because it looks pretty).
A clear space is a clear mind, and leaves plenty of room for creativity.
Segregate your rooms
Visualise each room in your house as a part of a story.
As you make your way through your house imagine you’re travelling through the story. What do you see? What are you doing?
There are loads of different types of incense you can use in your home.
Each also has a specific purpose, such as to relax and destress. Use these fragrances to unlock certain emotions in yourself and draw upon what you feel for inspiration.
7 ways to find songwriting inspiration in people
Listen to other Artists
If you want to be a songwriter listening to other Artists is a must!
You’ll be able to see a lot of consistencies especially when it comes to structure for Pop music and, you can find out what topics they’re talking about (most likely relationships). Also, check out what inspires them.
Join a forum with like-minded people
You’re never alone with how you feel.
Check out Facebook groups, Quora, Reddit or other forums for others just like you. Have a chat, bond, socialize and share your thoughts. Inspire each other!
Think about your local community. What are their beliefs? How do they behave? What do they value? Draw inspiration by answering these questions.
Search tweets or hashtags
Sometimes a person’s tweet or comment can spark an idea. I’ve had those moments where I’ve seen a beautiful phrase in a comment and it’s inspired me to develop it further.
Have a conversation
Be a passenger on someone else’s journey. Draw on their thoughts and opinions.
Don’t turn down help
Just because your sibling is a plumber, or your partner is a nurse doesn’t mean they can’t help you find inspiration. They might have an idea you could use.
Don’t stress over what others are doing
Your friend is a famous singer and always writes songs about breakups. They’re a big hit. But it doesn’t mean you have to write about breakups too.
Write the type of songs YOU love, and don’t focus on others.
7 ways to find songwriting inspiration in yourself
Write down all good and bad ideas
Remember, you can never have a bad idea!
Every idea has to start somewhere, and you may hate it initially but a week later you may find the missing element that makes it your masterpiece. So think twice before you throw a ‘bad’ idea away.
Look at your own life
Look at yourself for inspiration. Is there an event I can draw from? Or a feeling I had that I can talk about?
You are your own movie, and if you feel comfortable with that, bring it to life for others to witness.
A busy, overactive mind can be difficult to control. Control your breathing and meditate. This will refresh your mind and body.
If we are stuck in the same place or town day in day out it can be difficult to get a new perspective on life.
Therefore visualise somewhere you’ve never been (real or imaginary) and think about what you’d see and how you’d feel. Draw on that for inspiration.
Look through old photographs
Reminiscing can bring up old memories and feelings you might have forgotten. These could inspire your next song.
What do you take for granted?
Its items like a bed, running water etc. that we take for granted and never really appreciate. Look at these items and draw on their importance.
Don’t be a perfectionist
Stop waiting for the ‘perfect’ idea to come along.
It’s like waiting for Mr or Mrs Right. It isn’t going to happen if you do nothing.
This is when you start becoming an obstacle to yourself, just allow your creativity to flow naturally, even if it’s in a direction you don’t like. You can also make edits afterwards.
7 ways to find songwriting inspiration in activities
Take a nap
Sometimes all we need is a quick power nap to boost our energy levels. However make sure you set an alarm, otherwise you could wake up not knowing which day it is.
You want to write a song about loneliness, but you don’t know where to start.
Map out all the words that can relate to loneliness, such as similar emotions, activities, behaviour etc. From there you can begin to paint a picture.
Do an unrelated activity
If you keep pressuring yourself to come up with an idea, you’ll only delay your creativity.
Try doing something unrelated. Even remedial tasks like laundry or cleaning can clear your mind.
Get your blood pumping and go for a jog, or lift some weights. Not only is it good for clearing your mind, it will help reduce your stress levels.
Start a journal
Ever write a diary as a child?
Write down your thoughts and feelings before you go to bed for a month. Review this at the end and see if it sparks an idea.
Write a bucket list
Strange suggestion? I agree.
However it can spark an idea. I’d love to go skydiving but heights are not my friend. That spurred on the idea of writing a song about conflicting desires.
Develop a simple process for your songwriting
I love processes. It keeps me organized and makes me more productive.
For example, I’ve just thought of an amazing melodic hook, so I quickly use the voice recorder on my phone and record it.
What I won’t do is run upstairs, turn on my PC, hunt for cables, hook up my microphone, load my DAW and record it. Because by then I’ve probably forgotten it.
So when creativity strikes I know exactly how to respond to the most efficient way.
It’s your turn
There you have it, 42 ways to find songwriting inspiration.
What’s your favourite way to spark inspiration for songwriting? Having a snack or going for a quick walk to distract my mind has always been my favourite.
So next time the evil brick wall appears, you’ll be better prepared to smash it to pieces.
Good luck, and get creating!