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5 Easy Ways to Locate Song Ideas

By Mandy Thompson on April 05, 2011

1) Take a walk, but be sure to take pen and paper with you. Maybe you don't have to take a walk, per se. But it's beneficial to make an effort to get out or pull away for a minute. We have to run from the distractions of technology before we're able to hear what's churning in our own souls. While you're out walking, dig deep, but stay random. Let your mind wander. Listen for bits of inspiration. Questions. Phrases. Prayers. Write 'em down.

2) Watch a movie, with pen & paper. If you listen closely, you'll find great phrases & questions & existential experiences in the scripts of contemporary movies. Many make subtle (and direct) mentions of faith as it applies to the human experience. Listen with open ears and you'll be surprised what ideas come your way.

3) Listen to other great songs. This one is pretty well-known, yet often neglected. Didn't someone famous once say "art begets art?" They knew what they were talking about. Listen to the kinds of songs you want to write. Study them. Analyze them. Find out what makes them tick, and then creatively incorporate those tricks into your own writing.

4) Find a co-writing partner. Or, better said: Find a co-writing partner with ideas. They can bring their ideas to the table and you can help expand them. Easy enough!

5) Read Scripture, while looking for phrases and concepts and imagery to spark your mind. Like listening to other songs, this is not a new strategy, either. And, if you use "The Message," you've probably already noticed that a lot of new worship songs have phrases and even entire verses that come out of Peterson's paraphrase. It was written with modern language, but still holds true to the concept and poetic form of the original text. In short, there are lyrics just waiting to be written around portions of "The Message."

These tips aren't magic. In fact, you've probably experienced the unintentional benefits of a few of these activities already. Let this list serve as a reminder, and use these strategies intentionally. If you find yourself facing a bit of writer's block, one of these methods can serve as a tool to chip away at that block and get the ideas flowing again.

-by Mandy Thompson

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