#036 - How Do Musicians Get Inspiration To Write Songs - Ideas for Songwriting - Lesson Pros

#036 - How Do Musicians Get Inspiration To Write Songs - Ideas for Songwriting - Lesson Pros


by Chuck and Sandi Millar - Lesson Pros

Need some inspiration to write songs? How do musicians get inspiration to write songs? Included in this article is a list of great places to grab inspiration ideas for writing songs. 


  • Coffee Houses - Go to a coffee house and listen to people's conversations to get inspiration to write songs. There are great stories in places like these.
  • Try a New Place - Go somewhere that you have never written about a bench at a park, by a lake, under a bridge, a flower garden, or a botanical garden.
  • Cemetery - Read the headstones at a cemetery (you will get great names or sayings off of the headstones), etc.
  • Drive - Go for a drive, read road signs, and pay attention to rivers, billboards, old farmhouses, etc.
  • Do something out of the ordinary.


  • Rewrite Lyrics - Take the structure of a song, rewrite the words, and come up with your melody. This is a great exercise. Take one line from a song or a verse and see how different ways you can rewrite it. Next, do the same with a chorus.


  • Getting in touch with your senses will inspire you to write songs.
  • Sight - Look around. What do you see? How are colors similar? How are they different? What emotions are being evoked by what is happening around you? Show the listener what you are seeing.
  • Smell - Breathe in the air around you. What memory does this smell give you?
  • Touch - Where does your body connect with your surroundings? How does the fabric on your skin feel? How does the inside of your body feel? Are you grasping onto something?
  • Hearing - What sounds surround you? Where are they coming from? Describe them, show them, express them. Where do these sounds take you? Do they remind you of anything?
  • Perceiving - What do you perceive to be real? Why is it real to you? How does it feel to be aware of what is happening around you?


  • Book Titles - Spend an hour at a library or bookstore reading book titles. Imagine what the book might be about. You can always Google book titles, too!
  • Movies Titles - Look at lists of movie titles.
  • Look through your CDs. Pick a title and write your own story about what you think that song is about. Also, read the liner notes.
  • Play Titles - Read play titles and scripts.
  • Poems Titles - Read and rewrite poem titles.
  • TV Shows - While watching TV shows and movies, there are always great one-liners to grab inspiration from.
  • Headline Articles - Read headline articles and imagine what the articles might be about.
  • Read Blog Articles.


  • Scrabble Tiles - Pull a Scrabble tile and write everything you can think of starting with that letter.
  • Letters of the Alphabet: Write out all the letters of the alphabet, cut them up, and put them in a jar. Every writing session, pull one letter out and write as many things you can think of with that letter. You can use the internet to help you. Then pull another one.
  • Take lines of songs or poems, cut them all up into individual lines, put them in a hat, and draw one line out, then the next. See if it will make a great song. This is a great exercise.


Social media is a great place to get inspiration for songs. Here is a list to get you started. Read what people are saying in their social media accounts and turn their words into a song. You can also connect to different songwriting groups on social media.

  • Facebook
  • Youtube
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Twitter
  • Messenger
  • Tik-Tok
  • WeChat
  • Tumblr
  • Reddit
  • LinkedIn
  • Viber
  • QQ
  • Line
  • Telegram
  • Medium
  • Snapchat
  • WhatsApp


Google any word, click images in Google. Here is an example. I googled, searched Beautiful Places, and clicked images. By Google, searching images, you can get lost in thought. Take a moment to do this exercise. Look at the six pictures, pick one, and write a story about the place.


Here is a big one. Whenever you are stuck as a songwriter, get a co-writer. Even when you aren't stuck, get a co-writer. Co-writers bring some new ideas to the song. The song is king! Feed off each other ideas. Ask around town who’s a good songwriter and contact them. Give it a try.


  • Relax and clear your mind
  • Try meditation


By calling friends or family members. You may just get the inspiration you need from them.


Joining songwriting associations can light a fire to get you going on writing. With today's technology, it is easy to join your favorite songwriting association. Most states have their own songwriting association. Connect with Songwriting Associations in the United States and even worldwide here is a starting point Global Songwriters Connection.

Most associations will do one or two song evaluations a month, which is a great tool for improving your current songs. You will also meet new, like-minded people. Remember that the music business is all about connections. Here are a couple of songwriting associations to look into.

  • Songtown USA
  • NSAI - Nashville Songwriters Association International
  • MAS - Minnesota Association of Songwriters. We became MAS members because we are originally from Minnesota.


Who are your favorite songwriters? Make a list of three of your favorite songwriters. Start reading their lyrics and study their song structures that should inspire you to write songs. Here is a very small list to get you started. 

  • Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Gordon Lightfoot, Otis Blackwell, Smokey Robinson, Taylor Swift, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Carter Family, Elvis Costello, Bill Monroe, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Neil Young, Dolly Parton, Carole King, Lady Gaga, Robert Johnson, Hank Williams, Prince, Tom Waits, Townes Van Zandt, Tom T. Hall, Otis Blackwell, Pink, John Prine, Baby Face, Woody Guthrie, Merle Haggard, Snoop Dog, Etc.

Now take 3 new artists that you have never heard of before and study their writing. This will open up all new doors. Exciting stuff.


There aren't any rules for writing songs, and there shouldn't be. Write what you love, that's the most important thing. If you want to write a hit song you are going to have to follow certain formulas.


The main takeaway from this article is that a song can make a person forget about their troubles or make them feel something, even if it is for 3 to 5 minutes.

  • Does your song make someone cry, laugh, smile, feel, etc., if yes then you have written a great song.
  • Can your song make someone forget about having to help their kids with homework that they don't understand themself? if yes, then you've written a great song.
  • Does your song help someone forget about their money problems? Yes, then you've written a great song.
  • If your song means something to you and you only, you have written a great song. Whether it's a hit or not, it doesn’t matter as long as you like it.


Reading books is a great way to improve your songwriting. You can find some great Songwriting Books.


By writing every day, you will improve your writing skills. Figure out a time that you can write every day and do it! There is my kick you in the butt moment. lol


What inspires you to write? Feel free to share your ideas with the Lesson Pros community.

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If you are interested in learning how to write songs, check out our Songwriter Course or All Lesson Pros Courses.

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