Stimulating Your Creative Mind

Are you a curious musician? You need to expand your musical palette!


Purchase “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6-eBook Bundle TODAY, and receive your free eBook “From Amateur to Ace: Writing Songs Like a Pro”.

Your favourite magazinesImagine that you’re walking into a store that sells newspapers and magazines. There’s a little coffee shop at the back with a few chairs, although you’ve never bought a coffee there or sat in the chairs. There’s a postcard rack, a stand for selling stationery items, and even a few framed pictures for sale. At any given time there are  lots of people browsing for various items through the store.

You go there because they’ve got those three or four magazines and newspapers you like to read. You might take a glance at some of the other publications they sell, but that’s not the reason you go there. You might buy a pen once in a while, but you’ve never bought a framed picture.

Now imagine that right next door to that magazine store, a tiny little shop that has opened up. They sell only those three or four magazines that you read – nothing else. There’s no coffee shop at the back, and there are no other publications for sale other than the ones you usually read. No postcards for sale, no pens, paper or pictures.

In short, it’s got everything you need: your favourite four magazines, and nothing else.

Question: Which store are you likely to visit?

There’s something very practical about a magazine store that sells only those items of interest to you. You don’t have to wade through the hundreds of magazines just to find the three or four you want.

But I am guessing that most people would (at least most of the time) choose to visit the store that offers the larger selection of magazines and publications, most of which you don’t intend to buy. Why is that?

One reason is that large magazine stores are analogous to the societies in which most of us live, and so we feel “comfortable” there. Societies offer a huge array of interesting people, cultural experiences, merchandise and more. Nevertheless, you do not know most of the people in your city. If your city is large, you probably don’t go to most of the concerts. There are many stores you’ve never set foot in. The grocery stores are filled with items, most of which you don’t buy.

But you love your city, and the variety of experiences it offers, even if you don’t  partake in most. You love the hustle and bustle, even if once in a while you feel the need to get away from it and “take a breather.”

There’s another reason you might choose the larger store that sell items you don’t normally buy: curiosity. Every now and then you happen upon something that jumps out at you. In fact, it’s the potential for that kind of unexpected discovery that you look forward to. You make an impulse purchase, and your life becomes richer for it.

As a songwriter you have the same kind of choice to make. Like your trio of favourite magazines, you’ve got those three or four bands or singer-songwriters that you love to listen to. Most of the rest of music may be of little immediate interest.

But as in the magazine store scenario, you can choose to visit the little store that has just those items of interest, or you can browse through the larger store and open your mind to the possibility of coming across a pleasant surprise.

Sadly, many up-and-coming songwriters don’t have the curiosity to expand their musical palette beyond their immediate area of interest. Like a person choosing to only visit the small magazine store, they’re missing out on a great opportunity to expand their view and understanding of the musical world — the potential for an unexpected discovery.

If I’ve just described you, the solution is simple: branch out, get curious, and start listening to music you don’t normally listen to. I guarantee that you will come across something interesting every day, something that will expand your understanding and enhance your songwriting abilities.

Limiting yourself to one genre, and the three or four performers that you prefer, means that you have little chance of growing as a songwriter. Almost no chance of stimulating your creative mind. And definitely no chance of writing something remarkable or unique.


Gary EwerWritten by Gary Ewer. Follow on Twitter.

Download “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6-eBook Bundle$95.70 $37.00 (and get a copy of “From Amateur to Ace: Writing Songs Like a Pro“ FREE.)

Posted in songwriting and tagged , , , , , , .

One Comment

  1. Very Good Article, I know so many learning songwriters who restrict themselves
    to one genre, (Traditional Country) it’s an insular outlook, writing in many genres will make you a better writer, for sure. Country doesn’t need to be three or four chords, I am a fan of Jimmy Web, he wrote some great songs for Glen Campbell, songs that would stand up today if recorded for the first time. He used pedal point and bass inversions , something
    learning composers seem to be scared of. and he also came up with intriguing song titles

    “Witchita Lineman” Dreams Of The Everyday Housewife” “Galveston”
    “Macarthurs Park” and so many more. look at Dianne Warren she writes in every genre.

    Everytime I read your articles it inspires me to write something original, thank you Gary.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.