New Musicians: Finding Inspiration for Your Lyrics


in Composition

Most forms of writing, particularly in the arts, require or at least make use of some inspiration.  Some of the greatest songs are emotion-driven works that transform the inspiration of a feeling into heartfelt words that speak to millions. 

Many new songwriters are surprised to learn that the words don’t always come easy and sometimes the inspiration fails to show up when you have the time set aside to write.  The subsequent tips will help you find inspiration for your lyrics so you can generate original songs that demonstrate your artistic ability.

Get Poetic

When you’re feeling stuck for words or subject matter, it can help to ditch the music world for a bit and visit the literary section of a good library.  Look for modern anthologies of poetry.  You’ll find that many great works of poetry are fueled by measures and meter; they seem to contain a syllabic melody or a pleasing rhythm that you can’t help but feel as you read along.

Poets also touch on numerous types of subject matter that may strike a personal chord with you.  In this sense, poems are a perfect place to mine for inspiration and ideas that you may be able to transform with your own voice, words, and music. 

You can also find anthologies on specific themes like love or war.  Seeing how multiple writers handle a topic so common as love with originality and poignancy will certainly influence your own thoughts on the subject and may lead you to the lyrics buried within you.

Work through the Block

Forget about waiting for your muse to show up to work; muses are fickle creatures and may not provide the inspiration you need when you need it.  Instead, commit to working in spite of your idea block.  How?  Make a game of it—a game you can’t abandon or ditch until it’s completed. 

Keep a writer’s box filled with lots of topics or even interesting words written on scraps of paper—love, lies, grace, time, etc…Pull out a scrap and force yourself to compose.  You will be amazed at what you’re able to pull forth when you simply go through the writing mechanics.

 Some writers may brush off a process that seems so mechanical, but the act of writing can generate an inspirational spark at any second when you’re working.  If nothing else, the practice of writing on a regular basis is always a wonderful way to improve your skills as a songwriter and communicator. 

 Let the Music Influence the Words

The Beatles are known for writing a few songs with nonsensical lyrics they changed eventually.  Using nonsense words you know you can change later can be a helpful way to complete other parts of the song.

 Simply playing and replaying a melody to yourself may also prove to be your inspiration.  Your melody will impose a mood and that mood may lead to a feeling that can lead to your desired subject matter.  Even if you can only think of a hook for part of your melody, you can work around this one important element to come up with the rest of your lyrics.

Other Ideas for Finding Inspiration for Lyrics

Join a writing group to help keep the creative juices flowing.  Most groups allow writers to focus on a particular area.  Groups are also great places to share ideas about songwriting and garner feedback for your drafts.  It can also help to step out of your musical box. 

Listening to other genres of music may inspire you to follow a new idea.  Change up where you write; getting out of your room or studio to write in a park or at the beach can often inspire you in some intangible ways.

 Where do you get most of your best inspiration?  Can you capitalize on this inspiring place?  How do you know when you’ve written something good?  Do you have an audience that can help you grow and develop your skills as a songwriter?  What songwriters speak to you?  Be sure to read up on them and see how they get inspired to write the lyrics that speak to you.

 Author Bio: Guest post contributed by Carla Gregson Carla is a freelance music writer. Her articles appear on various music blogs.

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