Hello all! It's been a while since I've posted in this section. I was sitting on the train on my way home from work yesterday and was trying to do some writing. I don't have a whole lot of time that I can just spend any way I want to, so I try to do some while I'm in transit.

I was curious how you guys find your inspiration for songwriting. Granted a lot of the stuff I read in here is more like poetry, and I'm not sure if/how it would ever be translated into a song. The music I tend to listen to is typically very lyrically interesting. Always seems to make me think, or looks at something from a unique view that I'd never thought of, or put into words. I like songs about all sorts of topics/stories, I just have a hard time getting an idea on paper that flows. I'm actually in the slow process of writing a song that I plan to (potentially) use to propose to my girlfriend at some point, maybe this year. Nothing imminent thats for certain.

I was curious to know what your methods are. Do you sit down at home with the TV on? Do you read poetry/other lyrics for style? Do you drink coffee and smoke a pack of cigarrettes in silence? Do you go to the park? What gets your juices flowing?
I do get a lot of inspiration from other lyricists (Bruce Springsteen, Cat Stevens, Frank Turner etc), but also from films, tv shows, and most of all just random phrases, characters and images that randomly pop in to my head. There's not really any pattern with it in my case. If you wanna check out any of my lyrics, I've got a cheeky little Youtube link in the sig, maybe try 'Bulldozers' or 'Phoenix' for some of my better lyrics.
My Soundcloud
Always up for some C4C, been compared to Frank Turner, The Cure's Robert Smith and Bruce Springsteen so check out my stuff if you like the sound of that
I just think about things. Things I'm going through/have gone through, people I love, politics I feel strongly about...these are all opportunities to write a song.
With the TV on mute, I sit at the desk that's beside my computer and I go from there. Sometimes I try to think of stuff when I'm travelling to/from uni (thinking about what I'm going to write about lyrically), but yeah, I usually try to write something before I go to bed.
Lovely topiary in my avatar.

I sit at the computer. Or with a pen. But usually typing.

I just start typing. Sometimes I get a couplet or stanza and then I'm on to something else. I just go freely for a while and sometimes a whole piece will come out that way. Mostly its a few lines and I'm on to the next thing. I have books filled with phrases and snippets of ideas.

Othertimes I will come up with a whole lot of short things and one of them I will find interesting and it will spark me to work on it and try to build more and more.

My thought process is often rhythmic, I hear how I want it to sound and will often write it that way so that I can remember it.

Other times I have the music worked out on guitar and maybe a lyrical hook. Then I hum/mumble the melody not really knowing the words until it starts to become clear. I have to have a piece of paper, a computer on and waiting or a recording device nearby because I work through the ideas from different angles. I might come up with one aspect that works but then as I focus in on another part of the same lyric by the time it becomes clear the first part is gone. So jotting stuff down helps so much. Then I can get rough ideas down and work them through.

But mostly my inspiration just comes from the process of writing itself.

It usually starts with a series of sweet sounding syllables. I might write about a specific subject. I recently wrote two pieces about the moon. If you read them and didn't know what they were about you might guess it was a person or even me. You might guess it was the moon. But when you know it's the moon you say "oh yeah I can see that." Then I started thinking about the sun and wrote two lines and without stopping two more lines came out. When i read them back it was clear that I was not writing about the sun but something quite different. Eventually I saw a picture of a soldier in the desert going mad with the heat and it wasn't about the sun at all.

For romantic pieces I just tell her everything I feel. The trick is to try to be imaginative and, oddly enough, romantic. Cliches are not romantic because they have all been heard before. No girl is going to go crazy if she's heard the lines a million times. you might be sending the same message but it has to come from you and it has to be in words you would use. if it's sincere and you're not trying to hard and you're just being honest you should be able to do it pretty well.
Last edited by 20Tigers at Apr 5, 2012,
I never really try to come up with anything to write about. I get a decent amount of writing done though because pretty much anything can be written about. usually an interesting phrase pops into my head or somebody says something or I read something interesting.

sometimes I do the Frank O'Hara style, don't have anything in mind when you go to write; just start writing.

also I read a lot.

and sometimes I'll have music first and I'll be playing around with how I want the melody to sound, and what kind of sounds I want the words to be and try to fit them in that way.

but I'd say the biggest thing for me is that you can really write about anything. it's a shame that there are only like two or three kinds of songs these days. of course, depending on the kind of music you play, certain things might be weird to sing about, but hey man, try it. I'll pretty much sing about anything.
A lot of the best songs will come across through real life experiences. If something interesting happens to you, or you see something interesting happen to someone else write about it. Anything can trigger a song. Hearing a friend of mine sing Unchained melody, just recently gave me a song. As well as another song that came a few nights ago when my friend from Ireland visit. And I have a few summer nights spent on a roof that I look back on for any particularly romantic imagery. Life is full of ideas. The more you live the more you should write. Hey, there might even be a song in that!
A lot of blues musicians were drunks and drug adicts and womanizers and criminals, and just generally the type of people you don't want to associate with.

It turns out that kind of lifestyle is pretty good for writing music.

People who sit at a desk all day have nothing to write about that doesn't have to do with Pixels and Printers. Although, I think I can make that work....

Anyway, the more stuff that happens to you, good and bad, the more you are going to be able to say about it.

Think of this comparison.

Kid #1 has loving parents. They encourage him in every way, but they insist he does everything as safely as possible. He rides a bicycle with traing wheels until he is 12. He continues wearing a helmet and knee pads until he was 30, and he passes his CPA on the first try. His parents are very proud of him.

Kid #2's father is an abusive Drug Adict. His Mother is an Alcaholic and he lost his virginity at the age of 12 to one of her drunk friends. He broke his arm when he fell through a barbed wire fence on a bicycle after running away from shoplifting a 6 pack of beer when he was 9. He missed his Jr Prom because he was in Juvi for stealing a car, and his senoir year in highschool was spent in the Army on a judge's order. At the age of 19 he went AWOL got a girl pregneant, and she had an abortion when he was in the Stocade. At 22, he got the same girl pregneant, and she ran off and he has never seen the child but has been paying childsupport for 13 years.

Ok, Kid #1 has nothing to write about. He's ****ing boring.

Kid #2 doesn't even have to write, he just needs to vent into a microphone and set it to music. Heck, that guy has a career worth of lyrics oozing out of him.
Sometimes it's just a riff on the guitar or a chord progression that sounds good and as I play it over and over lyrics start popping. Other times I'll search for or more likely listen to phrases, words, or descriptions of places and start writing lyrics that flow from those descriptors. Many times however it's weeks or months before they all come together.
Things that you're interested in can help you. Lots of artists have reoccurring themes in their lyrics. For instance, in my lyrics reoccurring themes are things such as life, birth, death, rebirth, paranoia, illness, mistakes, insanity, angels, demons, and skepticism.
little things in the day prompt writing for me, starts with something said, something I have to do. stuff that happens to others. I write fairly soft lyrics, but I`m a tired old man...

I wrote in the style "emmy lou harris", you might not like country music...lol

the story behind this:
one of girls that cleans apts and paints for me.
she came over crying her eyes out.
she`s very pretty, I sat her down, talked.. she lost a boyfriend.
I told her it was just a temp" true love...she`d find the right one. she got to feeling better, we finished our coffee and she dried her eyes..and asked "how do I look" I said beautiful! she said ya..right..beautiful wreck!
The story stuck in my head..[hope I`m not over doing this thread]

Beautiful Wreck

I danced
knowing I would get hurt
I gave-in, even though... I`d get burned.

along came a heartache, and sat down beside me..
and He made Me a beautiful wreck.
along came a heartache, in my condition
I`m not over it yet.

chalk it up to a temporary true love....
thats got me out on this limb..
along came a heartache, a desperate, situation,
and I.. can`t get Him out of my head.


love can be a tragedy
when it falls apart..
letting go and it breaks your heart ...
I know.

pardon me
if I don`t sit down..
its the memory, and I remember when....

along came a heartache, and sat down beside me..
and He made Me a beautiful wreck.
along came a heartache, in my condition
I`m not over it yet.

chalk it up to a temporary true love....
thats got me out on this limb..
along came a heartache, a desperate, situation,
and I.. can`t get Him out of my head.

"along came a heartache, and sat down beside me..
I`m a beautiful wreck...I`m a beautiful wreck...

© Copyright 2011 Second-hand Hearts Vincent

anyway things like that, know what I mean?
I happen to have written this report about inspiration a little while back
Since we're all friends here, I can email it to you and anyone else that's interested.

Simply send me a private message with your email if interested