You’ve likely heard a lot of the typical songwriting exercises before: ‘find some inspiration’, ‘go for a walk in nature’, ‘set a timer and just write’, and so on. While these are often reliable ways to overcome the dreaded writer’s block, it can be incredibly enriching to spice things up and explore new creative methods every once in a while, especially if you’ve been writing songs for a long time.
Here are 5 different ideas to try out when you need something fresh and exciting:
1. Stream of consciousness
This is a technique usually used in creative writing, but it can also be an excellent addition to your songwriting practice. Set a timer for 5-10 minutes, grab a piece of paper and a pen, then start writing. The goal is to never let your pen leave the paper, so write literally anything that comes to mind. You may end up writing phrases like “I can’t think of anything to write” or “why am I doing this exercise,” but just stick with it. Practice daily and you may find ideas start to spill out onto the paper!
2. Use predictive text
Do you ever wonder if computers can be musical as well? Try coming up with a starting theme word for your song, and type it into your phone. Keep clicking on your keyboard’s suggested words and see if anything interesting comes out, then tweak it to your liking. It may sometimes be completely nonsensical, but it’s a great way to quickly come up with new and unexpected phrases.
*Bonus tip: Use LyricStudio Gold‘s new “Starts with” feature, to give you a similar effect, but WAY better! To be clear, this is nothing like your phone’s autocomplete – these are original, creative ideas to help you build your own, unique song.
3. Pick a random phrase from the nearest book
This could either go very well, or… maybe not so well. Phrases from an author of fiction who already uses colorful descriptive words would be the easiest choice, but don’t be afraid to go for a challenge. Once you’ve picked a phrase, expand on it by coming up with a list of rhyming words or associated words to do with the phrase, and off you go.
4. Songwriting with only one chord
This is similar to a ‘drone’, where one note or chord is heard the entire way through the song. Playing one chord continuously while moving the vocals only over notes in the chord will create a hypnotic and possibly meditative effect. Perhaps your lyrics could explore calming, meditative topics like describing beautiful scenery or a memory of a restful moment in your life.
5. Write a response to your favorite song
Choose a song you love and write a different version of it, or perhaps a sequel to the story in the song. For example, maybe you’re a fan of the Beach Boys’ ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’. Why not write a sequel talking about how ‘nice’ it is as these imaginary characters to finally ‘live together’? As another example, perhaps you’re a fan of Owl City’s ‘Fireflies’. Why not write a song with a different insect as the title, such as ‘Butterflies’? The possibilities here are endless as it works with more or less any song.
There’s no ‘correct’ way to write a song, so as songwriters we have the freedom to create in any way we please! Even if using these exercises doesn’t instantly lead to your next best-selling single, they will have thoroughly worked out your creative muscle and improved your skills for future writing.
If you’re someone who struggles to come up with lyric ideas, LyricStudio can help. LyricStudio is a Songwriting Inspiration Engine which provides original lyric ideas and options based on the topics you provide. It can also suggest rhymes, as well as allowing you to collaborate with other writers in real time! For an enhanced lyric writing experience, you can try out LyricStudio today.