It’s hard to write every day if you’re a songwriter, because you find yourself either
- running out of ideas for songs, or
- running out of inspiration.
What can you do to keep creativity from drying up?
Let’s deal with the inspiration part first. There are lots of sources for inspiration, but the kind of inspiration that really goes the distance is the kind that comes from within your own brain. The act of writing stimulates your creative musical brain. As you put musical ideas together, you feel a sense of creative excitement — inspiration — that keeps you going.
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You might not call the excitement you feel inspiration, but it functions in exactly that way. And even if you simply refer to it as musical excitement, there’s a great quote by American composer Leonard Bernstein that says this: “Inspiration is wonderful when it happens, but the writer must develop an approach for the rest of the time… The wait is simply too long.”
But what about the issue of running out of ideas for songs? There are days when you simply can’t come up with a good idea to base an entire lyric on.
As I mentioned in a recent blog post, don’t obsess over a song’s topic. Audiences make connections to words and to combinations of words, more than to the actual topic. The topic can be surprisingly unimpressive.
Still though, you do need something at least to get your mind thinking in one particular direction. If you keep drawing a blank, probably the best quick solution is to do an online search for “list of songwriting ideas.” You’ll find many pages of ideas written by songwriters who have already done the work for you, and have come up with hundreds of ideas for songs ready for you to borrow.
Daily writing seems daunting, but daily doesn’t mean (and in fact shouldn’t mean) that you can’t give yourself a break from time to time: daily can mean five days a week.
You get no special reward for writing every day, but daily writing allows you to hone your songwriting craft and become better at what you do. And there’s no need to feel that you have to write a complete song every day. Getting one line of lyric to finally say what you want it to say can be very rewarding — a good day’s work.
If you’ve got tips and tricks that you’ve used to help make songwriting a daily activity, please feel free to post your ideas in the comments below.
Written by Gary Ewer. Follow Gary on Twitter.
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