A new year has started, but things aren´t back to normal just yet! Lockdowns are still in place across multiple countries and it´s pretty much taking a toll on everyone.
A lot of us struggle to feel inspired while sitting at home all day, going through the same boring daily routine and not moving around much!
Here are some tips on how to find inspiration nonetheless! A go to guide when feeling stuck!
1) Search book titles and journal up ideas
This is a great excersise to get the creative juices flowing! Go to Amazon.com and search for recent bestsellers across various genres…fantasy, romance, thrillers…you name it! Do not look at the book description, but merely at the titles first and write down everything that appeals to you on a sheet of paper. Once you have a collection of 10 words or more, check in with yourself and see if any of these sparks an idea…for a verse, a chorus, maybe just a songline? If not, go back to your favorite book finds and read through the plot summaries. See if the stories appeal to you and bring new ideas. This is just an excersice. The best songs stem from true stories, but sometimes fiction opens a portal to our souls.
2) Morning pages
Anyone who has read Julia Cameron´s book “The Artist´s Way” will be familiar with her morning pages routine. The idea is to get a sheet of paper and a pen first thing in the morning and just start writing whatever comes to mind. It need not be whole sentences or things that make sense…really just write down anything that comes up! Eventually, things will start coming to the surface. Write as much as three pages and see what happens. The idea is to get rid of all the clutter in your brain to dig deeper and find something of relevance.
Julia Cameron swears on doing these in the morning, not after the day is done…this is not about your experiences of the day, but about the subconscious mind! Consider it like cleaning your brain like you clean your face after getting up! Making room for creativity to flow through you!
3) Watch Youtube videos of other artists
Discovering new artists and songs on Youtube can be super inspiring. A lot of times we connect with a song and feel the urge to write about a similar topic, but from our own experience. Sometimes we might like a certain groove or attitude of a song and tap into this energy to write a song ourselves. This is really all about soaking up new inputs! Getting out of your head for a while and becoming a listener instead of wearing the creator hat can take the pressure of and allow for creativity to spread again.
4) Look up song prompts
If you want to get to work fast, looking up songprompts online can be helpful. These are basically just topic ideas, sometimes coming with a twist, or say a challenge.
A song prompt might be: “write a love song without using the word love“. Or: “write a song about the colour blue and make it sound blue”. Whatever the task, treat it like a job and write as though you were writing on a deadline. Again, this might not result in a usable song, but it might get you out of your creative block and tap into a more results oriented mindset.
5) Speedwriting (no matter the outcome)
How about this! Write three songs in a row! Don´t worry about perfecting any of them. Do not edit, just write! Set your timer to 2 hours and give yourself half an hour to work on each song…take some breaks as well! This might be challenging, as we often like to tweak on songs as we go! There will be no time for that! Just write whatever comes to mind! Make sure you have at least one verse and one chorus for each song. See how this triggers your brain to write more. To generate ideas.
6) Ghost-writing to an excisting song!
A common technique that lyricsist use, is writing new lyrics to an existing song. You might not even look at the melody, but just overtake the metric schemes and write up a whole new story. The beauty of this is that you might have to adapt to new territories. If you tend to write A B A B rhyme schemes a lot and the song of your choice uses internal rhymes or weird metrical patterns, you will be forced to adapt to that style, which can lead to really cool new outcomes. Once you´re done writing lyrics, read them out loud and see if you can find a cool melody and groove that goes along and expresses what it is all about!
7) Walk in someone else’s shoes…..
Are you a daydreamer? Then this excercise is for you! Pick a character from a TV show you like or picture a day in the life of your best friend or even someone you “hate”. Imagine what it would be like to walk in their shoes and write about it. How do they perceive things, how do they feel? Go into the details and see if you can find a connection to your own life. Have fun with this! It´s also a great way to practice empathy!
8) Watch the news and process what you see!
If you are thriving to write meaningful songs that testify to the times we live in, you might want to watch the news or read up to date blogs touching on political and social topics. Find out how you look at things and what you would like to share with the world and try to translate it into poetry first, before translating it into an actual song. Allow for all emotions to enter your rant!
9) Look up a chord progression you haven´t used before and give it a go
This is a fun way to build a song based on music, not on words. Check out chord progressions that you do not usually play, or play things in keys or tunings you wouldn´t usually use. See how it changes your perspective! Write a short melody just so to test the waters.
10) Write a 3 note song
A very underrated way of writing a catchy song is writing 3 note melodies. The challenge lies in applying varying rhythmic elements, such as alternating long and short notes so to create tension and release throughout the song sections! 3 notes is all it takes at this stage! Later you might want to change sections of the song and adapt more notes!
But for now, keep it simple! Maybe that is harder than you would think!
Hope these tips help you get back on track in no time!
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