Are you dealing with a bout of writers block you just can’t get over? These 25 songwriting prompts and tips will help you get over writer’s block and get back on track with your lyrics!
1: Write a response to a famous song
Is there a song you know of that’s written about how perfect someone is? Flip it and write about how they can improve. Can you think of a song about a terrible breakup? Write the second act of that song, about trying to win your partner back. Using someone else’s song as a springboard to write your own is a great way to get the ball rolling quickly and break through writer’s block.
2: Write about how your parents met
If it’s not your parents, it can be another family member or someone you look up to! Ask them how they met their partner, and use that as inspiration for your next song! Sometimes it’s helpful to get out of the thought patterns that lead you to writer’s block, and often time that can be something as simple as writing from the perspective of someone you know.
3: Start with a different part of the song
Do you normally start by writing verse 1? Try writing the chorus first. If you typically start with the hook, maybe start with a bridge! Try and push yourself to write from a different starting point, and see where that takes you.
4: Try starting with the melody first
Do you normally write lyrics and melody together? Try writing the entire song just using gibberish. Get your melody totally sorted before moving on to any lyrics. Besides being a good way to kickstart lyrical ideas, this also ensures that your melody is strong and catchy on its own.
5: Watch a film or show and write from the perspective of the main character
This has worked for bands like Led Zeppelin, who famously wrote songs from the perspective of Lord of the Rings characters. I once wrote a song based around the Netflix show “Maniac,” which is all about a man who lives in several false realities.
I’d suggest avoiding being too literal if you use this technique. You probably don’t want to reference Hogwarts or Iron Man in your lyrics, but you can use the emotions and settings of the inspirational media to guide your songwriting choices.
6: Write a song about the future you want to see
Imagining an ideal future for yourself is a good way to change your thought patterns. Writing something aspirational can be a good way to break out of doom and gloom patterns that we sometimes get stuck in.
7: Change up your writing methods
If you’re used to using your phone or laptop to write, try using a typewriter or a notepad. I borrowed a typewriter from a friend and used it to type a lot of the lyrics for my last EP.
If you don’t have a typewriter handy, a pen and paper can be a nice change up. Switching your environments can be a good way to change up the writing process!
8: Write a letter to your future or past self
What would you tell yourself if you could go back in time? What’s something you want to always remember, even as you grow older? Is there something you hope you never forget? Write it in a song.
9: Imagine you’re writing for your favorite movie’s soundtrack
Sometimes, visually media can be a great way to inspire musical content. Here are some films that could inspire musical ideation:
- 500 Days of Summer
- Scott Pilgrim vs The World
- Blade Runner
- O Brother, Where Art Thou?
- Duck Tales
Really, any film that fits your vibe (or doesn’t) can be great inspiration for creation!
10: Write over someone else’s music
If you’re used to producing your own music, as well as writing the lyrics, sometimes it’s nice to just focus on writing the lyrics and melody. Search SoundCloud or YouTube for instrumentals that fit your style, and then get to work on writing lyrics and melodies over them. Once you’ve got your topline written, you can delete the beat you used for inspiration, and start a totally new instrumental to go under your lyrics. Make sure that you change up the chords, arrangement, and vibe. You don’t want to steal someone else’s work, just use it as a way to start your ideas flowing.
11: Use someone else’s lyrics
Similar to tip number 10, you can start building a track using someone else’s vocal tracks. Find a song you like, drop the vocals into your DAW, and get started on making your own remix. Once you’re done, you can remove the old vocals, change the tempo, chord progression, key, and arrangement a little, and now you’ve got an instrumental that you can use as the basis for the rest of your song!
12: Use a lyrics generator
On some very dark songwriting days, I’ve used AI lyric generators to give me a line or two to start with. Bored Humans has a pretty good one that you can use to get the ideas flowing! Are the lyrics it gives you good? Almost never. Will it help you get started? Totally.
13: Just push through and finish the song
At the end of the day, any of these techniques are just a tool to help you get through writer’s block and start writing again! Even if your song doesn’t turn out perfectly, it’s great to muscle your way through it and get it finished, so you can have another song under your belt. Even if it’s completely awful, having a bad song is better than having no song at all. You can edit it, you can use it as a jumping off point for the next one, or maybe you’ll wake up tomorrow and realize that it’s not as bad as you thought it was when you were writing it.
Still stuck? Check out this video where I break down my process to avoid writers block altogether!
Did these tips help you finish your song and break through your writer’s block?
If so, consider checking out more of our articles here!