Ultimate Guide to Inspiration for Songwriters


Mountain view with valley of pink flowers

Songwriters find inspiration in the people they meet, the places they go, situations, and in their own imaginations. The world is full of inspiration. There are plenty of ways to get your creative juices flowing. We will discuss several ways that songwriters can find inspiration as well as some tips on how you can be more inspired. So if you’re looking for some fresh perspectives, then read on!

Here’s the ultimate list of how songwriters can get inspired:

Travel to a new place

Traveling to new places is a great way to find inspiration. Seeing new sights and experiencing new cultures can open your eyes to new possibilities and give you new ideas. It’s a great way to get out of your comfort zone and explore new ideas.

You don’t have to go far, you can start off by going to a different part of town. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, take a trip to a new country. You never know what inspiration you might find!

I’ve traveled around the world and have been very inspired by music in foreign languages. Turbo-folk from Serbia is still one of my favorite musical discoveries. Disco polo is another great example of a genre that I would have never heard if I hadn’t traveled to Poland.

  • Make a list of all the places you want to visit.
  • Research different destinations and find one that appeals to you.
  • What do you find exciting or interesting about that place?

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Talk To People

Talking to people is one of the best ways to find inspiration. Meeting new people and hearing their stories can give you new ideas for songs.

You can learn a lot about people by talking to them and getting to know them. You might be surprised at the things you hear.

One night when I was at a cafe in downtown Belfast, I had a conversation with a complete stranger. He was an older gentleman who was very opinionated, portly, and very educated. We were discussing philosophy and politics.

This guy was a real character, he would say all kinds of politically incorrect things and back it up with a sharp understanding of facts and history. He would poke fun at me for being American and for politics in the USA. This guy was very interesting to talk to and a great inspiration.

Talking to people you wouldn’t otherwise chat with is a wonderful way to be inspired. Talk to people from different walks of life and learn about their experiences. Ask them how they’ve dealt with difficult situations.

Some tips to be inspired by talking to people:

  • Be open to hearing new stories and perspectives
  • Start a conversation with someone you don’t know
  • Have real conversations about topics people don’t usually discuss
  • Put yourself in social situations to meet new people
  • Join online communities and join in on the conversation

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Get Out Into Nature

The great outdoors has inspired songwriters for centuries. Getting out into nature can be a great way to find inspiration.

There’s something about being in nature that is calming and peaceful. It can help you clear your mind and open up your creative channels.

Being surrounded by plants, trees, water, and wildlife can give you new ideas for songs. I remember when I was in Mexico, there were always birds singing everywhere. These sounds would become a part of my daily soundtrack and helped inspire some songs.

Being out in nature is very relaxing yet it also can be energizing because you are surrounded by new stimuli that might give you ideas about your songwriting.

Some tips for being inspired by nature:

  • Spend time outside every day
  • Visit a park, forest, or nature reserve
  • Sit by a body of water
  • Listen to the sounds of nature
  • Take a trip to the beach

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Write Down Ideas When They Come To You

Ideas for songs can come at any time. It’s important to have a way to capture these thoughts when they come to you.

Always keep a pen and paper nearby in case inspiration strikes!

I recommend that you carry a small notebook or phone with you everywhere. You never know when an idea might pop into your head and if it’s not written down, there is a chance that you will forget about it later.

Write songs down as soon as possible after they come to you. Record the idea when it’s fresh and you might find yourself writing an entire song in just a few minutes.

Here are some options to record your song ideas:

  • Keep a journal and pen with you at all times
  • Record yourself singing the idea on your phone using voice memos
  • Write down your dreams when you wake up
  • Set an alarm on your phone and write whatever you were thinking about

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Watch a movie or listen to music

This is a great way to get inspired because it makes your mind active and gives you new stimuli. Watching movies or listening to music can trigger memories from past experiences, which might give you an idea for a song.

For example, I was watching the movie “The Revenant” with Leonardo DiCaprio and there is a scene where he’s in a canoe and he gets attacked by a bear. This scene sparked an idea for a song about being chased by danger.

Some tips to get inspired by movies and music:

  • Watch or listen to new types of movies or music
  • Pay attention to the emotions that you feel while watching/listening
  • Watch or listen to different genres – Documentaries
  • Think about how the movie or music could be interpreted in a song
  • Start with the title as the idea for a song

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Read interesting books

I always find that I’m inspired to write songs after reading interesting books. There is something about the written word that sparks my creativity and gets my mind thinking about song ideas.

When you read a book, you are getting transported into another world. This can be a great way to find inspiration for your songs.

I recommend finding books that are different from what you usually read. This will help challenge your thinking and might give you some new ideas for songs.

Some tips for getting inspired by books:

  • Read a book about a topic you’re interested in
  • Choose books that are different from what you usually read
  • Read a classic or very popular book – Many people connected with this book for some reason, so check it out
  • Pay attention to the emotions that you feel while reading
  • Listen to audiobooks if you don’t enjoy reading

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Get a good night’s sleep

Everyone needs to sleep, just like everyone needs to eat. Sleep is the time when your mind processes everything that happened during the day and it’s also a great way for you to come up with ideas for songs.

You might find yourself thinking about some lyrics or melodies while you are sleeping so be sure to have a pen and paper nearby in case you wake up with a great idea!

Creativity takes a lot of focus and energy. If you’re not feeling well, it’s going to be harder for you to be creative.

I always find that I’m most inspired when I get a good night’s sleep. This is because my mind is rested and I’m able to focus better.

Some tips for getting inspired by sleeping:

  • Get enough sleep every night
  • Don’t drink caffeine before bedtime – Caffeine can ruin your chances of having quality dreams and ideas for songs
  • Don’t drink alcohol before sleep – Alcohol prevents REM sleep which is when dreams occur
  • Don’t eat a heavy meal before bedtime – A heavy meal can make you feel tired and sluggish
  • Stay away from electronics before bedtime – The blue light emitted from screens can keep you awake
  • Have a regular bedtime and wakeup time

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Exercise

I always find that when I exercise, I’m more inspired to write songs. This is because exercise releases endorphins, which make you feel good.

When you’re feeling good, it’s easier for you to be creative and come up with new ideas. Exercise also gives you more energy throughout the day, which is great for when you’re trying to be creative.

Some tips for getting inspired by exercise:

  • Think about how the activity could be interpreted in a song
  • Make exercise part of your daily life – Such as taking a walk in the park in the morning
  • Exercise enough to sweat, it releases endorphins and reduces stress
  • Choose an activity that you enjoy – This will make it easier for you to stick with it
  • Think about the lyrics or melody of a song while you’re working out
  • Listen to music while you’re working out – Music can help pump you up and give you energy

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Choose to be open-minded

When you’re open-minded, you’re more likely to try and experience new things. You’ll be less likely to get stuck in a rut. This can help inspire your songwriting because you’re exposing yourself to new ideas and emotions.

When you’re open-minded, you’re also more likely to be accepting of other people’s ideas. This can help with collaboration because it will be easier for you to work with someone else and come up with a great song idea.

Don’t shut down your ideas right away because you think they won’t work or that someone else has already done it.

You never know where inspiration will come from, so keep an open mind for new and interesting things!

Some tips for getting inspired by being open-minded:

  • Talk to new people
  • Experiment
  • Practice seeing things from different perspectives
  • Check out art galleries or museums
  • Watch foreign films

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Write Down and Record All Your Ideas

If songwriting is important to you, then set aside the time necessary. When you schedule a time to write you’ll be more likely to do it.

When you’re scheduled for something, your mind is going to feel less overwhelmed and will give ideas or lyrics the attention they deserve.

Because my brain has been subconsciously thinking about it for me, I’ve discovered that new thoughts will appear at the planned moment.

Some tips for getting inspired by setting time aside to write:

  • Turn off all distractions
  • Set a specific amount of time that you will write for – For example, an hour
  • Write in the morning or evening, whenever you have more energy
  • Don’t judge yourself while you are writing – Just let whatever happens happen
  • Stay focused on your writing project if you have a specific idea in mind for it – Don’t try to force yourself to write something different
  • Give up trying to be perfect. If an idea seems forced or not quite right, don’t waste time over-thinking the details. Just keep going and see where that takes you!

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Daydream

Daydreaming allows your subconscious mind to take over and come up with new ideas. This is because daydreaming allows your mind to wander and think about different things.

Allow yourself time to daydream and let anything rise to the surface. This can be a great way to find inspiration for songs.

Some tips for getting inspired by daydreaming:

  • Schedule a specific time just for daydreaming or “thinking time”
  • Ask yourself a hypothetical question such as “What would I do if…”
  • Jot down any ideas that come to you when you’re daydreaming
  • Don’t worry about making sense of the ideas right away
  • Daydreaming can also help clear your head so that you can come up with new ideas when you return to writing

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Be Dedicated

If you’re serious about songwriting, then put in the effort and dedication to make it happen. Show up and write songs, even if you don’t feel like it. You may be surprised at how the words will flow once you get started.

This means that you should practice your craft regularly, learn as much as you can about songwriting, and spend time working on your songs.

Simply showing up isn’t enough – You have to put in the hard work if you want to be successful.

If you’re dedicated to your songwriting, then you’ll find that there will be a lot more inspiration for songs in the long run.

Some tips to getting inspired by being dedicated:

  • Don’t wait until “the mood strikes” – If you want to write every day then schedule time throughout the week and stick with it
  • Set goals for yourself and strive to meet them
  • Create a songwriting routine
  • Spend time reading about songwriting and listening to songs that you admire
  • Attend workshops or events that focus on songwriting
  • Write every day, even if it’s for a short amount of time
  • Practice songwriting techniques to improve your skills

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Collaborate

You don’t have to do everything on your own – Collaborate with other songwriters!

This can be a great way to get inspired because you’ll be working with someone else who has their own set of skills and ideas.

It can be really fun and inspiring to work with someone else and come up with a great song idea.

Some tips for getting inspired by collaborating:

  • Find a songwriting partner that you vibe with
  • Meet up in person or work online
  • Share your ideas and thoughts with one another – This can help the creative process move along more quickly
  • Make time to write together and come up with new ideas
  • Be open to other people’s suggestions about your songs
  • Get feedback from each other about your songs
  • Be open to the possibilities of what collaboration can bring

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Be around encouraging people

Remove yourself from environments and situations that are not encouraging. Nurture your creativity by surrounding yourself with supportive people. This will make it easier for you to be inspired and to continue writing great songs.

Not everybody enjoys creativity, some people find it stressful. Therefore, choose when you want to be around these people and protect your “creative time” to make the most of it.

Being around close-minded or critical people can shut down creativity. This is because it’s difficult to be creative when somebody is constantly putting you down or not supporting your ideas.

Take some time to understand your own creative process and nurture by creating an inspiring social environment.

Some tips to find nurture your creativity:

  • Join communities of other creative people
  • Read books or watch documentaries about artists you admire
  • Attend workshops or conferences
  • Talk to other songwriters
  • Online communities and forums are great places to find encouragement from other songwriters

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Be Yourself

This is the most important thing. If you try to be someone that you’re not, then you’ll probably end up writing about things that don’t really resonate with you.

Write about what you know and what’s important to you. This will make your songs more personal and meaningful to listeners.

When you’re authentic, it shines through in your songwriting. Challenge yourself to grow in all areas of your life. This helps you figure out the kind of person you are and the type of artist you want to be.

Some areas to grow and find new inspiration:

  • Physical – If you feel good physically, it’s easier to be creative. This is because creativity can drain energy so if you have lots of physical energy, then this helps inspiration flow!
  • Spiritual – Spiritual growth means growing in your connection to yourself or to God if you believe in God. This can happen as you learn more about yourself and the world around you which brings new experiences, thoughts, and feelings to write about
  • Knowledge – Growing intellectually also helps with creativity because it gives you more life experience and ideas for songs
  • Social growth – If you’re growing in your relationships, then it’s easier to be inspired. When we have strong connections with others, our own experiences mean more and life feels meaningful
  • Financial – Many people feel stress from finances which limits creativity. This is because the less stress you have about money, the more energy and time that becomes available to be creative.
  • Intellectual – When you’re curious and always learning, it’s easier to be inspired. This is because new information sparks new ideas which will shine through in your songs
  • Emotional – The more you deal with your emotions, the less they will control you and inspire great songwriting

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Take a break and relax

Creativity takes time and effort. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stuck, it’s okay to take a break.

Sometimes it’s best just to do something else for a while. Come back to songwriting when you’re feeling refreshed.

Take some time to relax each day. This can be just sitting quietly, meditating, or practicing deep breathing exercises. Just do whatever you need to calm down and relax.

  • Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation
  • Create a “relaxation routine” such as making some tea and sitting in your favorite chair
  • Take a shower or bath
  • Turn off your phone or any other distractions
  • Wear something comfortable
  • Take a short nap

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Have patience

You may not be inspired right away, but if you keep working at it and open your mind to new things, inspiration will come eventually.

Creativity happens when we are feeling relaxed and in a playful mood. Allow yourself as much time as it takes to come up with good ideas and simply enjoy the process.

When it’s time to write, just allow your ideas to flow freely. Don’t worry about how they sound at this point, just let them come out.

Creativity is a natural process and can only happen when we are relaxed enough for our minds to wander freely and discover new ideas and thoughts on their own.

With patience, you’ll be able to enjoy the process of songwriting :

  • It will be easier to find inspiration if you’re open to new things and ideas.
  • Let go of expectations of what it should sound like or what the songs should be about.
  • There are no right or wrong answers when creating music
  • Find inspiration in everyday things, not just big events and situations
  • Don’t compare yourself with other artists – Focus on your own work instead of worrying about how others are doing

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Hopefully you’re feeling inspired!

Songwriters find inspiration for their music in the strangest places. Sometimes, all it takes is a conversation with a stranger to ignite the creative process. Other times, songwriters might find inspiration in their own backyard. It’s amazing what you can discover if you just take the time to look around.

So there you have it! Some tips on how to find inspiration as well as ways that songwriters are typically inspired. Keep in mind that everyone is different, so what works for one person might not work for another. Hopefully this information will help you get started on your songwriting journey!

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