How to maintain the stream of songwriting ideas
Being prolifically creative can be challenging for any songwriter. Here Mylène Besançon offers some tips for keeping the juices flowing
Every writer runs into a mental roadblock from time to time. For songwriters, trying to get out of this rut can be a rather daunting task, resulting in overflowing waste paper bins or just blank sheets, begging for words. Whatever the case, learning how to cultivate a constant stream of songwriting ideas is necessary to help you overcome writers’ block whenever it threatens, especially if you write for a living. Whether you’re an accomplished songwriter or just starting, there are bound to be days when you’re bankrupt mentally and need creative ways to generate new ideas. Here are five creative ways that can help you to keep those ideas coming for a constant stream of material:
Read anything and everything that you can get your hands on, including novels, magazines, newspapers, blogs… When you read a lot of varied content, it not only builds your vocabulary, but may provide you with a lot of ideas which you can use to create songs about current events, romance, religion, politics and any other topic that you may come across while reading.
Keep and maintain a journal
Investing in a journal may be one of the best things you can do as a songwriter. Writing down experiences from your personal life and things you come across on a daily basis, will help you to create snapshots that can give you a steady flow of ideas to draw on when you want inspiration to write a new song. Additionally, the way how you write stuff down and the order in which they are written may make it easier for you to form your lyrics and structure your song when you’re ready.
Find a ‘spot’
Every good writer has a spot where ideas seem to flow like a river, whether it’s a cozy corner in the basement, a windy rooftop or under a large tree outside in the backyard. These spots may be difficult to find if you are constantly moving around, but if you stay anywhere for an extended period, seek out that special ‘trigger-spot’ which sparks your creative juices. Of course, it could be all in your mind that such a spot is some kind of magical muse but, as long as it works, you shouldn’t question it.
Run through your playlist
Sometimes listening to other people’s material may be what is needed to kick start the idea mill in your head and inspire you to put pen to paper. Listening to other people’s songs, especially if you listen to various genres, can inspire you in a number of ways. For instance, you may listen to the lyrics of a controversial song and think about how you can rewrite it to create a different spin, or you could take a song outside your genre and rewrite it to match the wordplay, tempo, and style of yours.
Sometimes it’s not a lack of creativity that prevents ideas from flowing but a mindset that is not disciplined enough to write all the time. Everyone knows that you get better at writing when you keep writing, so making a commitment to yourself to write, even for a short period every day, will help to spark ideas.
Try these tips and you could realise that having a steady stream of songwriting ideas may not be an unrealistic pursuit after all. They may even help you become the songwriter you’ve always wanted to be – a successful one.
Mylène Besançon is the CMO of SongCat, a top-rated online recording studio. SongCat produces professional-quality songs for singers, writers and musicians at various stages of their career. For more information, and to hear what clients are saying about SongCat’s services, you can visit songcat.biz