Inspiration is a funny thing; it can come from routine chores, life-changing events, the feeling of being in love, or even a shower. There’s no set path to inspiration; some artists wait years for it, while others are lucky enough to build a momentum through everyday realizations. Songwriting can, at times, be daunting.
As an artist, what I have found is that, while inspiration has been triggered by the best and worst of times, the lack of it is incredibly (and universally) frustrating. Especially if you have a song in your heart that’s just waiting to be written and the songwriting bit is tough. In the attempt of powering through this block, here are a few things can help if inspiration is playing hide-and-seek with you:
If you’re not satisfied with the quality of your lyrics (you feel they’re too bland or aren’t articulated the way you’d like) don’t obsess over them. Instead, shift your focus to the tune or melody that (I believe) has the power to elevate lyrics. It’s always better to draft a verse or a chorus and then build a couple of chords to see how it comes along. Once you have a composition going, maybe you can come back to the lyrics and see how to tweak them.
Change your relationship with procrastination
We’re creatives. Procrastination is in our genes. No but seriously, the tendency to delay the process isn’t really you delaying the process. Your subconscious can be a cruel angel. While your consciousness is riddled with guilt, magic maybe happening in the background. The greatest epiphanies (or the simplest revelations) are made possible when your mind is freed up. Try to focus on things that have nothing to do with songwriting so your mind can get to work. Go for a jog, start painting, or even do a little bit of gardening, and allow your mind engage in a creative dialogue with itself.
Get a groove goin’
Every song has a vibe that is defined by its pulse or a groove. Get to your DAW, churn out a rhythm with an instrument that resonates with you and see what happens next. The groove might just inspire the words that you’re looking for.
Maybe it’s the melody
Every song has a hook—a verse, rhythm or maybe a melody—that sticks with you and your listeners. It’s that one sweet sound which becomes the identity of the track, the thing that people use to remind each other of it. Once you’ve started putting it together, try using it to elevate the lyrics. This really helped me.
Intros can get you to the end
When music and words burn together, there’s pure, heartfelt warmth. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that I can’t think of a better feeling. And this feeling has a starting point; it can be a word, hymn, or even just a single instrument. Getting the premise right is crucial to developing it further so that it captures and conveys the emotion that the song is about.
So, make sure you start fearlessly and make it end tremendously.
Got a hook of your own? Share it with us in the comments below!