How Songwriters Find Inspiration
Do you seek inspiration?
It’s a good habit to build into your life.
Not all of us know what our motivations are. We don’t know the things we would do for free. We struggle to find a reason to work hard.
If we don’t know our motivations we often look for things that inspire us. These usually come from the outside. And it’s possible for those things to help us in the short-term. And it’s possible that inspiration will lead to the discovery of our motivations.
Creative people are pretty good at finding inspiration.
But it may surprise you the way they find inspiration.
Let’s take a look at a creative group of people: songwriters.
They’re creative, right? They create songs from scratch. Songs that millions of people will potentially love for their entire lives.
1. They Schedule It
Don’t songwriters sit around and wait for inspiration to strike?
Well, that does happen. But it’s pretty rare. And it usually happens only after songwriters have been working regularly and consistently for a long time. Usually most of their lives.
They schedule writing.
They have to. They don’t have a job and they don’t make money unless they’re writing songs. So they do it all the time. And if they’re busy they still schedule time.
Many of us have this notion about certain things in life. Creative things. Even things like love time with our partners. We think that those things should be spontaneous.
Well here’s the reality…if you sit around waiting for things to happen they’re not going to happen.
You have to schedule it.
So if you need inspiration for something then schedule it. Put time on your calendar to take a walk. And do it consistently.
2. They Force It
This builds on the previous one.
Songwriters force their songwriting. At least in a way.
Scheduling is part of it. But they also force themselves to keep notes in a notebook. Almost all songwriters have formed the habit (a form of forcing) of writing every song idea into a notebook. Or they’ll sing or say a title into their phones and save it.
They force working with other people. This puts pressure on them to prepare so they don’t let the other person down.
We can all use a little creative pressure in our lives. We have to force it.
3. They Do It A Lot
It’s about quality. That’s the cliche.
It’s very true with songwriting. For the most part only the best songs are hits. Songwriters certainly know this.
But they don’t sit around only writing quality songs.
They do write quality songs, but they know that the way to quality is with quantity.
We all know it. We’ve all done it.
But many of us along the way got afraid. We got lazy. We became perfectionists and thought that we can’t do something if we’re not going to do it amazing.
Songwriters might have to write 10,000 songs before their first hit. Then they may have to write 1,000 songs before their next hit.
Switch your thinking away from quality inspiration. Go for quantity. Go on 1,000 walks. Go on 1,000 little trips. Create 1,000 business plans.
4. They Change Their Scenery
I like reading rockstar biographies. I think their lives are interesting. They don’t live like normal people. They don’t have normal jobs. They don’t do normal things. They’re creative.
But that means they have figured out ways to be creative.
And one thing that’s common is that they often change their scenery. Then they write about what they’re experiencing. They know that a change can lead to new thoughts. It heightens the senses and those feelings and experiences lead to ideas.
If toddlers could write songs (maybe they can) they could write so many inspirational songs. The reason? Everything is new and amazing to them. They see their parent start the car. Amazing. They could write passionately about what they just witnessed.
Change your scenery so you’re experiencing something for the first time. This will fuel inspiration.
5. They Don’t Judge In The Moment
We’re often our own worst enemy. We sabotage ourselves.
We’re afraid of what other people will think.
Here’s a tip: it doesn’t matter what other people think.
Someone hates you? Doesn’t matter. You can’t control them.
You can control what you get better at. You can control what you create and what you do. And you can try to win over the next person.
Songwriters are really good at letting themselves try new things. They create tons of songs that are crap. They certainly judge those songs once the moment of writing has passed. They probably toss tons of songs aside.
But they don’t judge in the moment. They experience the moment until it’s done. Then they judge.
While you’re creating something just let it flow. You can always judge it once it’s done. But you’ll never find inspiration if you’re always judging in the moment.
Are you struggling to find inspiration? Here’s a secret…so are most other people. The secret that the most creative people know is that it isn’t really about inspiration. It’s about the work. They schedule things. They force things. They force themselves to do things when others just quit.
That’s it. That’s all there is to it. You have so much to gain from trying something and very little to lose yet we often focus so much on the little we can lose that we don’t do anything.