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songwriter’s inspiration and resources grab bag


Without a doubt, the hardest thing about being a songwriter is finding inspiration. I have found that I have the most success when I’m writing as many songs, or song seeds, as possible, regardless of how inspired I’m feeling. When I show up to the page with regularity, inspiration usually follows. Below you will find a list of songwriting inspiration, games, and jumping off points. I have used them all myself at one point or another and they are in no particular order. Enjoy!

  • Write a song based on a painting that inspires you. Need some help finding an inspiring painting? Here are some pinterest boards to get you started.
  • rewatch your favourite movie or reread your favourite book. Write down lines that speak to you and use them as song titles or jumping-off points
  • Browse through book titles at the library and write down titles that would make good song titles
  • Interpret objects or architecture musically. Go for a walk and try to “hear” the scenes that pass you.  (Fun fact: This is how I wrote the song Watching)
  • Create songwriting constraints based off of other songs, for example Bye Bye Blackbird and Skylark could translate into “songs with an AABA form and a bird title.” (Fun fact: This is how I wrote Canary)
  • Go people watching. Visit a crowded place like a coffee shop or an airport and write down scenarios and characters based on the people you see interacting. Use these ideas as plots for songs.
  • Browse newspapers or magazines for song ideas.
  • Set a poem you like to music.
  • Write a questions-title song (Fun fact: This is how I wrote Have We Been In Love Before?)
  • Try and write the worst song you can possibly imagine.
  • Copy down the rhyme scheme of a poem or song you like and write a song that uses the same rhyme scheme
  • Choose an interval. Make that interval the theme of your melody.
  • Find a common word or phrase with multiple meanings and work both meanings into your lyric (Fun fact: This is my favourite thing to do and how I wrote So Far)
  • Write a song based on an idiom or figure of speech.
  • Write lyrics to an instrumental song.

Bonus! Here are my favourite songwriting resources from this enormous writing resource masterlist.


Author avatar

Renée is a queer, non-binary, disabled, and chronically ill creator based in Montreal. They are a singer, songwriter, pianist, YouTuber, and Periscoper. They are currently a student of jazz studies at Mcgill University and a freelance vocal coach for young and emerging singers.

1 comment

  1. Awesome. Great ideas and not just for song-writing!

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