Life can be pretty tiring. Sometimes you want to write the next song, but honestly? There are only so many hours in a day. You really do want to prioritize writing, but between a job, errands, trying to eat healthy foods, exercise and have some much-needed down time… songwriting might take a back seat for a little while.
And that’s okay. Taking breaks is a part of the process, and although your rest time doesn’t have to be productive, maybe you’re in a state of mind where you can do that. Here are some suggestions for those days when you want to write a song, but you can’t sit down and write.
Read a Book, Watch a Movie or a TV Show
Many of us will either read a book or watch something to turn off our brains for a little while. Instead of that, try to pay attention and take note of the details in whatever you are watching. What personality traits do the characters have? What are the characters going through? Could you turn that into a song?
Listen to Music While Doing Something Else
In our world of podcasts, Netflix and a million other things to listen to, choose music. Listen to music closely while you do something you normally do on autopilot: driving, gardening, cooking, baking, cleaning, painting, walking, etc. Take note of specific song techniques you might want to put in your writing like a type of riff or a concept for a song.
Talk to a Friend and/or Journal
If you write songs from the heart, this one’s for you. Talk to a friend about what you’ve been going through lately, especially if you’ve been really busy. It might be time to recount and understand what you may have pushed aside in favour of work. Talking about things could spark that song idea you need.
Alternatively, try journaling down your feelings. It can be more of an emotional dump or you can look online for journal prompts to get you going. Settle in with some tea or coffee so you feel comfortable and rested.
Go Song Title Hunting
This one is pretty fun. There are song titles everywhere if we can change our minds to think of them once in a while! Whatever your activity is, you can find them: book titles, phrases in a news article, street signs, podcasts, videos… be creative.
And if you’re really feeling stuck, go through Spotify/Apple Music and borrow a few interesting song titles. Don’t copy the entire song, but give a twist on an old idea. Collect as many song titles as you can so you can go back to them when you want to write.
In Conclusion: Think About Songwriting!
Instead of thinking about how you want to be writing, think about songwriting itself. While you’re picking up groceries, think about melodies, humming a few. While you’re in the shower, tap out some interesting rhythms. You might be already doing this, in which case, cut yourself some slack.
You can think about songwriting to get your creative juices flowing before you actually do any writing. If the feeling of thinking about songwriting comes with guilt because you haven’t done it, this is a really important step. Open your mind up to songwriting, even while you’re not doing it, and the next song will follow.