One of the most common problems songwriters face is what to write music about and how to find inspiration. I’m a strong believer that inspiration is an infinite stream you only need to learn how to connect to. If you’re interested in the topic, I have created a video on YouTube called “How to Find Inspiration & be More Creative” I recommend watching! Though today we’ll be going a bit more practical and I’ll be sharing with you 30 song prompt ideas to help you find some inspiration for your music!
Here’s the original video I have published on the topic:
1. The story of how you started music
I’m starting with this one because I think having some sort of creation story in your repertoire can be really nice to share with the people around you in the form of a song. I happen to have an original song about how I first got into music called “Realm of Illusions” (You can listen to the live version here), and up to this day, it is a song that hold a lot of meaning to me. It reminds me of my origins and it’s a song I feel I love to share the story of.
2. Something that makes you happy or sad
We all experience music differently and some of us find comfort in listening or writing music about things that make them happy and allows them to get their mind off things going wrong in their lives. Some other people use writing music as a medium as a catharsis – to help purge emotions and work through them- . I personally always feel more inspired with the second, but whichever of the two resonate best with you, use that as a way to get yourself started to write a song.
3. A story you loved as a child
Write a song about a story you loved when you were a child, whether it is inspired by a movie you used to love or a story you liked to have your parents read to you. I remember that one story I loved about a little girl and her small brother going to the beach for the first time. Up to this day, the beautiful images from that book and the story still inspire me.
4. Something you would like to change about the world
What change would you like to see in the world? What do you think would make it a better place to live? A song is the perfect place for you to share those ideas and create that world for yourself to share. Maybe your song can inspire other people to take action on some cause you feel close to?
5. Your favorite story from the Grimm brothers
There are so many incredible and fantastic stories written by the Grimm brothers you can inspired yourself with. If you like a bit of horror you can let it shine through your song, but if you like more “happy ending” stories you can also rewrite them in your own words and styles. There are a good amount of iteration of those stories in popular culture you can easily take inspiration from them and them being in the public domain makes it a lot easier too.
6. Your deepest fears
Write a song about something that frightens you. Whether that fear is realistic or not doesn’t matter. Maybe you can write about the monster hiding under your bed when you were a kid or something a bit more recent? Making up an happy ending and adding a bit of humor in your writing might be an excellent way to help you process through that fear of yours. Your song might end up being the reminder you shouldn’t let that fear reach you.
7. A letter to your future self
Writing a letter for your future self in the form of a song might be an excellent way to put down your goals and aspirations for the future. What best than putting those thoughts into a song to carry with you and remind you of the person you wish to become? What mistakes do you wish you will avoid in the future? What kind of person are you hoping to become?
Alternatively, writing a song as a letter to your past self can be another great tool for self reflection and can be great source of inspiration. What would you want to tell your past self?
8. A happy memory you have
You can write a song about a memory that is dear to you, something that happened and made you happy, or made you learn something. It can be a memory from your childhood or some memory you have about someone you love. It can be a moment with a stranger, a thought you remember of, a smell or something someone told you. Use that thing from the past you wish to remind yourself and write a song about it. Write about how it makes you feel and how it has impacted your life.
9. An encounter with a fantastic creature
If you would be able to have an encounter with any mystical creature, which one would it be? Tell the story of that encounter in a song. You can describe their environment and how they look. The encounter can go well or go wrong, it’s all up to you! Alternatively, you can also write the unique story of that one creature. How were they born? Why are they here? What’s their mission? Maybe they are the last of their kind and they have a story to tell.
10. The knight who didn’t want to save the princess
Write a song about a knight who decides he doesn’t want to go and save the princess. Maybe he’s having a good reason for it? Or maybe he’s just a selfish person? Maybe he’s just afraid of that dragon guarding the tower?
This one can be taken literally or more metaphorically, whichever inspires you the most. The point here is to focus your song about the anti-hero for once, and spice things up a bit. Write about a character that lacks conventional heroic attributes. Maybe you can tell the story of how they became like that through your song.
11. Describing your favorite ecosystem or climate
What places and ecosystems inspire you the most? The cold lands of the north? The heating dunes of the desert? An imaginary place inspired by Lord of the Rings? You can write a song based on those places you feel inspired by and describe them.
What I personally love doing is imagining stories and characters living in those places I feel inspired by. When I wrote “Beauty of the Wild” and “Carry Me to the Lands“, I was inspired by northern mountains and cold environments, and from there I created the story of those two characters living there.
12. One of your struggles in life
Write a song about something you struggle with in life. You’re likely not alone in this world going through that thing you’re struggling with, and music has that ability to connect people together in this way. Write a song that makes you feel understood and you might help other people in this world also feel understood in their struggles. It’s hard to be completely vulnerable in writing music, but it’s often what makes the best songs.
13. A magic power you wish you had
If you could have a magic power, which one would you chose? Write a song about what it’s like to have that superpower, and how you would use it. Would you use it to help the world be at peace, or would it be for your own personal benefit?
I can’t help myself but share this song as inspiration for you! Here’s “When I Get My Superpowers” by Meri Amber:
If you don’t know Meri Amber, I recommend you check here you! She’s a fellow music streamer and friend of mind. She’s not only an amazing songwriter but also such a sweetheart! Here’s her Twitch link: twitch.tv/meriamber
14. What you would like to tell your favorite artist
If you could have a conversation with your favorite artist, what would you like to ask them? You can write a song about what you think they would be answering to you? Place yourself in the shoes of an artist you admire and try to write that song about what it would be like to be like that artist, or maybe what advice they would give you.
15. About your favorite person in the world
Write a song about the person you love the most. It can be a friend, a parent or your significant other, whoever you feel close to and wish you could find a way to tell them how important they are for you. Your our song can list the reasons why you love them, be about the first time you met, or tell a moment your shared you have great memory of.
16. A country you would like to explore or visit
Write a song about a place you always wished to visit. Describe the smells, the view, the people and the surroundings through your song lyrics. How is it to be there? Does it feel peaceful? dangerous? also, you don,t have to limit yourself to existing places, you can invent your own or take inspiration from fantasy novels. A way I really like to twist that sort of prompt is creating characters who live there and telling a bit of their story through my songs. Who are they? What are their goals? What are they struggling with?
17. What you would do in a zombie apocalypse
You can write a song about being in a zombie apocalypse. Your song lyrics can explain how the world got there and what are the living conditions in this world. You can describe the environment, a fight against zombies and/or create characters and stories from that universe to tell about in your song. Maybe you could write your own story living in this world and what you would do, whatever inspires you most Alternatively, you can write a song about any other genre of post-apocalyptic world you feel compelled to.
18. Something you dislike or hate
Write a song about something you dislike or hate. It can be as simple as foods you don’t like to eat or an activity you dislike, or it can be a bit more substantial and be something about a type of behavior you don’t like to see in people, and how you wished they acted instead. Try to add some kind of positive touch to it by allowing the song to offer some kind of solution, a reason why it’s like that, or a sort of twist at the end. If you prefer, you can also write the song about a fictional character and the consequences hating that thing can have on their life.
19. Your favorite character’s newest adventure
Create a fan fiction song! Pick a character you love, and write a song about their most recent adventure. It can be a character form a book or movie, but if you write a song about an existing character, make sure to consider copyright in the equation.
In case you intend to publish your song, to avoid any problems , you can keep the identity of that character hidden and keep from revealing too many details about them, or you can create your own character inspired by them.
20. In the style of your favorite writer/lyricist
Pick a writer or a lyricist you really like, and try to write a song in the same genre as them. I love to get inspired by artists I love. My personal style is highly inspired by bands like Nightwish, which are very fantasy and story driven. I also like to get inspired by writers like Edgar Alan Poe or Baudelaire. Taking inspiration from your favorite artists can be a good way for you to develop your own writing style and get in touch with what you really like to write about.
21. Life on a newly discovered planet
Write a song about what life is like on a newly discovered planet. What’s better there? What’s worst? Why do people leave earth to live there? Are people forced to go there, or are they going on their own freewill in hope for better life conditions? Maybe you can tell the journey of someone leaving earth to live on that new planet.
22. What if the stars and the moon disappeared?
Write a song about what it would be like if the stars an moon disappeared. How would people react? What would the world look like? Alternatively, you can also explore other “what if” questions you have in mind, and write about what that alternate universe would be like in a song. Don’t be afraid to write down a few of those “what if” questions you have and write about them.
23. How could we make the world a better place
Write a song about how you think we could make the world a better place. You can focus on something like peace, environment, how humans treat each other and the world around them, and write a song that offers solutions on how to make the world better for everybody.
24. About your purpose on this earth
Write a song about your purpose on this earth. Why are you here? What do you wish to accomplish in your life. You don’t have to find for something amazing here, just find something that resonates with you, that makes you feel alive. Write about something you would like to accomplish. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have that epic goal, keep it simple if you need. it can be something that’s only self-fulfilling if you wish.
For me, I feel like my purpose on this earth is creating art. I want to create and share ideas with the world, and that’s what keeps making me feel alive.
25. The story of a werewolf who killed his wife
Write a song about the story of a man who killed his wife during his werewolf transformation. You can describe the relationship he had with his wife, the transformation and the event itself, or you can focus on only one of those elements. Take inspiration from werewolves tales you know of, or create a similar story inspired by another creature of the night like vampires. You can also create a whole different story around this theme if you want to. You can maybe take inspiration from the song “Fullmoon” by Sonata Arctica
26. A society where love would be forbidden
Write a song about a society where love has been forbidden. How does that world function? What is the punishment this society is giving for falling in love with another person? Is there a reason for that rule’s existence? Are the authorities trying to take control of the population of are they trying to save them from something? Maybe you can write your song about the story of two lovers trying to escape that place to live their love freely. You can take inspiration from a book such as “1984” by George Orwell, “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury or other dystopian universes you know of.
27. A blind woman sees for the first time
Write a song about what it would be like for someone to see for the first time. Describe colors and landscapes like if it was for the first time. If you want, you can frame the song around the story of that person who gets to see and experience the world for the first time, whether was it because they used to be blind of because they were prisoner in a dungeon their whole life.
28. A princess escapes from her tower
A princess decides to escape from her tower. Maybe she’s adventurous or just tired of waiting for her prince charming to come and save her. You can write about her adventures. Are things going alright for her, or is she faced with terrible challenges? Is she happy to now be free, or does she realize the world is a lot more dangerous and wild she expected at first? Does she wish to return home, or stay out forever?
29. An inside joke you have with your friends
Write a song about an inside joke you’re having with your friends, or something that makes you feel connected to them. It can be more funny or more meaningful, as long as it reflects the dynamic and relationship you have with them. If you prefer, you can also take a single friend of yours you have a special relationship with, or even your significant other. You can explore some of the memories you have together and find a good memory to write a song about.
30. Dictionary word song
If you’re completely out of ideas, something I like to do is generate a couple of random words from a website like “Random Word Generator” and use them as a prompt for my song. The goal would be to use as many words as possible from that list in my song. It can end up having funny results sometimes, but I think it’s also a great way to get out of our comfort zone, try new things and get out of a writer’s block.
I hope these ideas helped you find a bit of inspiration! I know for a fact that it has been making me feel very inspired and creative to write that article, and I hope reading it will have the same effect on you! Feel free to share you song or your ideas with me! If you’d like more advice on songwriting you can join our community on Discord with this invite link: https://discord.gg/TBW8yX9 ! Our whole community over there would be happy to see your work! If you would like to get some private coaching from me, it’s also possible! Make sure to DM over there so we can check out the possibilities together!
Seeing you around!