Finding Inspiration for Writing Songs
You and your band perform night after night, giving it all that you’ve got. You feed off the crowd’s energy, and you’re marveled by the audience’s response to your show; you feel as if there could be no greater experience in the world. But what if those songs that are keeping them singing and dancing had been written by you? That “no greater experience” could feel even better.
You’ve always wanted to write songs and perform them with your group or even in a solo show, but the task has always been daunting, left on the back burner, or aborted altogether. Songwriting doesn’t have to be complicated; however, sometimes it becomes just that, and lacking inspiration is a major roadblock for some songwriters. There are numerous sources of inspiration around us in our daily lives; we just need to know how to use them.
Consider the type of song you want to create; the genre and mood will set the tone. Whatever type of song you write, look at your life first, or someone else’s; your personal experiences and those of your friends and family are great possibilities. One of my favorite methods is sitting in a diner or coffee shop with pen and paper—I always have a legal pad or notebook, and a pen wherever I go to easily write what I feel based upon what I see. It might be a young couple sitting in the corner booth with their 3 kids out for dinner. The father’s flannel is worn out, his boots scuffed and hands calloused. Seeing this, I’d start a “struggle to make it” type song. Or maybe I’d observe the young woman sitting at the counter counting her cash prior to ordering; her ragged suitcase sits by her side, seemingly, her only friend in the world. This scenario could be another “struggle” song or another verse to the same.
Another option is to keep an area set up in your house exclusively for writing. Leave your writing materials (notebooks, pencils, pens etc.) and guitar or piano in an area where you can go at any time and write without having to take the guitar out of its case. If you must constantly hunt down a pen and a notebook prior to writing, you can easily lose the idea, thought, or the inspiration behind it. Make it as easy for yourself as possible to increase your creative time and decrease the wasting of it.
Just write what you see, how you feel, how you would feel, or how they might feel. You don’t have to write the song in that moment, just capture it with your words and harness the inspiration from your surroundings. Remember: we all have access to inspiring moments.
Sometimes we might just need to try something that is different— or do things a little differently—to realize it. So, turn off the cell phone, open your eyes, and open your mind. Find some inspiration, add a little heart and soul, and put your pen to paper: write a song.