Over the years, I've participated in a few different types of songwriter groups, where people get together to workshop their material. This past September, I started a new group of my own (affectionately referred to as 'Fury Wrote' ... I'll give you a hint: think 'Mad Max'). For each meeting, I provide an optional writing prompt and at this point, I've assembled a small collection of prompts that I thought might be helpful to share. So please enjoy and I hope these inspire!
- Pick up any book or magazine, open it up to a random page and chose the first sentence on that page. Make that the first line of your song.
- Choose a song or album at random (shuffle on iTunes or grab an actual CD/record, etc.) and write a song inspired by that style/genre.
- Write a song without using any pronouns.
- Choose a phone number out of your phone and write a song using the chords from the number. Pick any key. If you want to limit the number of chords in your progression, choose a number with a few zeros. You can decide to keep the chords in the same order or mix it up. For example: 508-243-5454 in the key of C, would be: Gmaj - (skip the 0) - Cmaj - Dmin - Fmaj - Emin - Gmaj -Fmaj - Gmaj - Fmaj
- Finish an unfinished song!
- Try an online random prompt generator. Some examples include: Creativity Portal and Learn How To Write Songs
- Write a song in which the chorus is one verb repeated as many time as you like.
- Take an existing song and 'turn it on its head.' It's up to you how you want to interpret that - you can remix it, rewrite the lyrics, rearrange the music, change the style, you name it! But don't be afraid to take it in another direction completely and ultimately create a brand new song out of the exercise.
- Write a song in a style (or genre) that is different from what you normally do. For example, if you typically write pop songs, try a ballad or narrative - or go classic rock!