How to Create More Songwriting Ideas Than You Need
Brainstorming will help you create more songwriting ideas than you need. If you’ve ever felt stuck coming up with song lyric ideas, songwriting titles or songwriting ideas watch the video or read the transcript below it.
This is a sample lesson from my online songwriting course, The Ultimate Songwriting Jumpstart.
YouTube Lesson Transcript
Brainstorming: How to create more songwriting ideas than you need
A common songwriting problems is figuring out what to write… whether it’s “I don’t know what to write about” or “I have a great idea but I don’t know what to say about it!”
Brainstorming is a way to eliminate this problem, so you can unblock yourself and have more ideas than you need for a song.
Brainstorming is a variation on Free Writing.
The goal is get into a flow state and dump whatever is in your brain onto a page without distracting yourself by thinking about the quality of your ideas. Start with a theme or title idea as a writing prompt and write ideas as fast as you can think of them.
Don’t edit anything, don’t judge anything, don’t cross anything out… just write! Practice getting your ideas onto paper.
As you brainstorm, some ideas will be weak or even bad… Keep writing
Some ideas will be great… Keep writing
Don’t worry about spelling or finding the perfect word right now… Just keep writing!
Brainstorming can feel awkward if it’s new to you
That’s okay… it’s a skill you develop with practice. Stop your internal struggle to write only the best ideas. Instead, try to find and write as many ideas as you can.
When you flip the “I don’t care switch” in your head, you can release a flood of ideas. Sometimes a series of terrible ideas will lead to brilliant ones. Right now, every idea is a “yes”… write them all down.
When you’re brainstorming, focus on words, short phrases and fragments of lines. Keep your ideas to 5 words or less makes it easier to fit them into complete lines them later when you are editing. Trying to write full lines at this point usually causes trouble… you start trying to create rhythms and rhymes and patterns. Whenever I start trying to rhyme during a brainstorm, I usually start trying to force rhymes or slowing down or even stopping. We’ll find rhyme pairs in later in the songwriting process. I’ll cover this in Module 2: Frustration Free Lyrics Writing.
I’ve had songs come quickly with a few brainstorming sessions. For other songs, I’ve had over a dozen pages of handwritten ideas that I edited down to a single song. On one page there might be several great ideas, on another there might be only one golden word or phrase.
In the next video, I’ll discuss editing, where you sort your ideas, choose the best ones, and start polishing. Right now I don’t want you thinking about anything except putting words and ideas on paper.
Don’t judge anything right now
Your goal is to record your ideas without editing. You’re looking for the act of writing!
You can use these prompts to help you focus:
- What other words and phrases fit with the idea?
- What emotions can you tap into, what’s the emotional journey?
- What imagery, or poetic language comes to mind?
- What metaphors and similes can you come up with?
- What senses can you tap into… sight, sound, sensations
- Who are the characters? How do they look and what do they do?
- What’s the setting, where would the action be?
- What other ideas fit with your title idea?
When you’ve finished brainstorming you can review and edit…
as you’re writing focus on your next idea, not on what you’ve already written.
I find pen to paper is the best way to record my ideas. Practice keeping your thoughts a few words ahead of your pen, this will help your writing flow and avoid stops and starts.
Try Brainstorming right after you finish watching this video…
- Start with an idea or title. If you don’t have a title yet, brainstorm possible themes or titles first
- Set a timer for 5 minutes, when you’ve practiced this you can try brainstorming for longer. Right now choose a short, manageable time so you teach yourself to stay focused. Don’t do anything except write down ideas while the timer is going. If your thoughts are flowing you can continue once the timer runs out.
- Write ideas as they come and keep your thoughts a few words ahead of your pen
- Remember: every idea is a “yes” … write them all down, even if they seem silly or off topic. Sometimes great ideas will follow from weak ones.
Don’t worry about the quality of your ideas or your results.
Try to get as many ideas on paper in a short period of a few minutes.
Try a brainstorm right now,
Pick a theme or title idea. Set a timer for 5 minutes and try to get as many ideas down on paper as you can….
In the next lesson, we’ll look at the difference between writing and editing. Editing is the next step in the songwriting process, where you choose the best ideas you’ve just brainstormed and start polishing and improving them.
Leave a comment to help other songwriters:
How do you come up with songwriting ideas?