Nothing To Write About?

In another article called Songwriting Topics I went through a myriad of things you can do to inspire yourself in terms of what to write about (what?  you don’t have anything to write about? :-)), and most of them were the obvious such as using your own life experiences or those of others.

Cliffs of Moher – Edge of the World
Image by janusz l via Flickr

But what if you are bone dry in terms of ideas?  Where else can you get them?

I’ll focus on a few places on the web that might help you get some ideas.  In fact, you might learn to get really creative about being creative!  The web is an excellent way to get ideas if you know how to use it and what’s out there.

Interestingly enough, as I’m writing this blog I’m looking at something called Zemanta.  Zemanta is essentially a media and article/information gallery that you can use as a plugin in Firefox or in a WordPress blog like I have.   You can try it out on the demo page on their website.  Type anything in the text box and Zemanta will come up with images, articles, links and tags relating to whatever you’ve typed.  It’s a pretty clever little tool.

Which brings me to another idea.  Pictures can be really inspirational sometimes, especially photographs.  If you go to a website like, you can browse through hundreds of stock photos;  pick a subject like flowers or landscapes and see what you can come up with.  I often peruse a website called BOOOOOOOM! which has photography, but also art and sometimes even videos, all in blog form.  It’s a very cool site to look through even if you’re not looking for something to write about :-).

Okay, but what if you’re looking for musical inspiration?  Aside from listening to other songs, where else can you get some musical ideas?

A few months back I found a really neat little site called Jam Studio where you can literally create a whole music bed right on the site.  It leads you through entering some chords and picking some instruments, including drums, bass, guitar and piano and even a “feel” or genre like country or rock.  Then voila!  You can create a whole song in any key and come up with all kinds of ideas!  Try it out.

And last, but not least, I wrote an article for the Muse’s Muse awhile back where I featured an NPR series called “Project Song“.  The whole idea is that an artist or band is given a set of photos and words to choose from, and is given two days in a studio to come up with a song representing them.  It is a very interesting premise and on the Project Song website you can watch a video showing how songwriter Nellie McKay came up with her song “Cavendish” using the tools at hand.

You might do the same for yourself…take a random photo from one of the websites I recommended and go to a dictionary and pick out a word or two and see what you can come up with!

In fact, I’m thinking of coming up with a songwriting challenge to do exactly that.  Keep your eye on this blog in the coming weeks…!


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