Hey guys,

I've been playing guitar for about 5 or 6 years now. I love Prog Rock/Metal, and I love instrumental work, my favorite bands are bands like Dream Theater, Tesseract, Opeth, Tool, etc.

Ive spent the last month or so really delving into Music Theory for the first time, and as far as my technical skills go, Id say, while Im no John Petrucci, I know my way around a guitar and can play rhythm and lead both pretty well.

I really want to push myself farther though. I've learned a few songs, a few solos, and countless riffs that others have written. But I want to really get to the next level.

I want to write instrumental pieces with riffs and solos and breakdowns and rhythms that are all original and works that I can call my own. I truly want to be not only a great guitar player, but a great ARTIST.

The problem is, I dont have any idea where to start. I know the basics of song structure and such, but Im lost on how to actually START writing my own music and my own riffs. I know all about writing songs in a certain key, and the scales and chords that go in that key, but im lost when it actualy comes to picking up my guitar and creating music. Where do I begin?
Just start by jamming on your guitar and record everything as you go. A riff that might not sound good at first may sound better if you go back and listen to it later on. It may take time but the worst thing you can do is put off starting. Songwriting/Composing can be developed over time and the more you do the more you can refine your technique.
Okay, thanks. And I figured it was jist a "the more you do it the better you'll get" sort of thing. I just haven't been trally feeling anything I've written. Like I have made a couple decent riffs and hooks and licks, but none of it has rrally spoken to me and felt like "YES, that's what I want out of this song".
Try to expose yourself to as many different genres as you can. You will find inspiration in the most unlikeliest of places.
But if you are really that stuck, take a riff that you like and change the speed, notes etc until it sounds like your own.
I find that the best ideas are not forced. Most songs of mine come about from ideas when I'm messing around on the fretboard. You just have to stick at that idea until it becomes something you're proud of.