How to Find Inspiration for Songwriting

Hero How to find inspiration

Now that we’re almost a year into the Covid-19 pandemic, many songwriters are starting to find that their creative urges are dwindling. One question that seems to emerge again and again is “how do I find inspiration for songwriting”? When you’ve been stuck in the stay-at-home mode for months on end this is certainly a valid question. Fortunately there are ways to circumvent this problem, and with a few tips you may find yourself producing your best songs ever!

Listen to Good Music

Inspiration Headphones

First you need to recharge your creative juices by listening to good music. Step out of your comfort zone and try something new. There’s always Billboard’s Hot 100 to get you started with today’s hits, but don’t neglect music from the past! Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to listen to another genre, like classical or jazz. Many rock, R&B, Hip Hop and pop tunes have been influenced by jazz music. Classical music is where we actually get the idea of a chorus in a song. Who would have thought that the piece of a song that is most memorable would have been developed in the time of Mozart and Beethoven?

Going back even further than the Classical Era, the Baroque period (think J.S. Bach) has actually had quite an influence on rock music. Many rock musicians have copied the complex motifs and chord structures of the Baroque era.

Make yourself a Spotify playlist to work your way through when you are feeling uninspired. Include music from different eras and genres to expand your understanding of musical styles.

Start with a Melody

Inspiration Piano

When you feel that you don’t have an idea for your next song, sometimes it’s a good idea to start with a little melody. Even a three or four note motif can be expanded into a whole song with a little help! Whenever you have a musical idea, grab your phone and record yourself humming whatever you’ve just come up with. You can then use this at a later time and develop it further. Our Captain Melody tool can help you to flesh out your melody into something you want to work with.

Captain Melody 5.0

  • Write melodies that suit your chord progression
  • Connect the Melody plugin with Chords plugin
  • Apply different rhythms
  • Apply arpeggiators that move your MIDI notes
  • Adjust the tension between the Chords and Melody
  • Hear the melody played with 100+ different sounds
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Collaborate with Friends


Sometimes when you’re in a songwriting rut and are having trouble digging your way out, collaboration is the way to work your way past that block. Just having the input of another songwriter or producer can help you to create different ideas that result in amazing new tunes. While you may not actually be able to get together in person to work in the studio, our new Satellite Sessions can help you to do that very thing. Satellite Sessions allows you to collaborate in real time, with any musician around the world; in any DAW! How much fun would that be?

Turn to Nature for Ideas


Nature is the original song writer. Just head outside and use your ears. Are there birds chirping? Record their song. Is the wind blowing through the trees? Tap into that sound. Are there dogs barking? Do you hear a great rhythm? Many songwriters use nature as a jumping-off point for creating great rhythms and melodies. Experiment with recording all sorts of different sounds from the world around you, then heading into your studio to sort through them and see what you can come up with. You might want to watch this video for great examples of how to use nature as a starting point for writing your songs.

Try a New Sample Pack

Sample Pack

It may be that you need to try something new to get your creativity on track again. There are many sample packs on the market to experiment and play around with. Why not treat yourself to something new? Every once in a while it’s good to indulge yourself and spend some money on a worthwhile product to help you come up with new ideas. Mixed In Key offers Captain Plugins, a pioneering range of VST plugins for your DAW which will help you write chords, melodies, drums and bass parts. Why not give it a shot to see if it will help to lift you out of the song writing desert!

Write Something Every Day

Write Every Day

Successful songwriters will tell you that they work at this every single day. That doesn’t mean that everything you write is going to lead straight into the next hit, but it will keep your creative energy flowing. You don’t have to spend hours trying to figure out something new each day, but try to write something that you want to save. The next day you can either choose to pick up where you left off, or dive straight into something new. Later on, you may even end up mixing your two ideas together to make something new and exciting.

Have a Day Off

Day Off

Sure I just told you to write something every day, but every now and then you are going to need to just take a break from it all. Just being able to tell yourself that it is ok to have a day off and do something completely different is fine. You need to be able to refresh and rejuvenate yourself so that when you go back to your song you’ll look at it differently.<./p>

Set a Time Limit


Song writing can definitely be mentally challenging and draining. Don’t work yourself to the point of exhaustion trying to finish your song. Try setting a time limit for yourself. Many people find that they are more productive if they’re working within the constraints of a timeline. Figure out what would be a reasonable time frame for you to work in, and then stick to it. If it helps to set a timer so that you actually stop when your time is up, do it. Then head off to engage in a different activity. That could still be something in your studio, but if your self-inflicted time is up for the song you were working on, then follow your time limit and now work on something else. Taking a break from your song can actually be more helpful than you know.

Try some of these tips and see if they can help you find the inspiration you need to write your own hit song.

About the author: Mary Lea Wolf

Mary Lea Wolf is a Canadian elementary music teacher and musician based in Wyoming. She has her own private music practice and teaches piano, flute, electric bass and vocals, and plays in bands that perform across the State. She is a Mum to two fun-loving and artistic daughters. When she’s not researching the Billboard Top 100 for her Mixed In Key articles, Mary Lea enjoys trips to Las Vegas and cuddling with cats.