Sometimes, inspiration comes from the strangest sources. Other times, not so much. As a result, if you are stuck on a song, you should consider checking out songwriting prompts.
If you are lucky, something will catch your eye. However, even if that doesn’t happen, you won’t lose anything because that will give your unconscious mind more time to think of a solution.
Here are 50 songwriting prompts that might inspire something interesting:
1. Developing a Crush For the First Time
A crush can be messy. That is particularly true when you have no previous experience with such matters, meaning you are working through things for the first time. It is easy to spin such a crush into a story worth telling precisely because of that messiness.
2. Mustering the Courage to Ask Your Crush Out
Most people fear rejection. Due to this, a song about mustering the courage to ask your crush out on a date tends to be relatable.
3. Not Being Able to Muster the Courage to Ask Your Crush Out
Unfortunately, people aren’t always able to muster such courage. That sense of misery makes for roiling emotions, which are often beneficial as songwriting inspiration.
4. First Date
First dates can be intimidating. It isn’t a coincidence that Bustle and other sources offer suggestions for interested individuals on how to get these things right. No matter how first dates turn out, their inherent drama makes them excellent sources of songwriting inspiration.
5. The Bliss of a New Relationship
A new relationship often starts with a stage of uncomplicated bliss. You are in good company if you choose to write on this theme.
6. The Complications of a Changing Relationship
Over time, relationships tend t emerge from the initial honeymoon. Essentially, people start noticing the differences between them and their significant other, which causes friction between them. They can work through these things, but they can also break up because of these things. Either way, you can write much about the changing nature of a relationship.
7. Serious Argument with a Significant Other
A serious argument with a significant other is almost a songwriting cliche. Still, remember that the line between cliche and classic is paper-thin.
8. Trying to Patch Things Up With Your Significant Other
Trying to patch things up after a serious argument is also a popular choice of songwriting inspiration.
9. Your Significant Other Trying to Patch Things Up With You
The presentation can be quite different when it is the viewpoint character’s significant other rather than the viewpoint character taking the initiative in repairing their relationship.
10. Breaking Up With Someone
Breakups tend to produce strong emotions, which are perfect for inspiring more tempestuous sorts of songs.
11. Someone Else Breaking Up With You
That is particularly true when the viewpoint character is the one whose significant other chooses to break up with them rather than the other way around.
12. Stuck in a Toxic Relationship
A lot of people become stuck in toxic relationships. Sometimes, there are practical considerations. Other times, Psychcentral points out they can be influenced by everything from poor self-esteem to a sense of investment in the situation. Misery might not inspire pleasant songs. Luckily, there is a market for the finished results.
13. The Catharsis of Ending a Toxic Relationship
There is enormous catharsis in ending a toxic relationship. That makes for natural songwriting inspiration.
14. Post-Relationship Self-Affirmation
People often feel bad after a breakup. They might think they are unappealing. Similarly, they might assign themselves an excessive portion of the blame. Under those circumstances, it is no wonder that post-relationship self-affirmation songs are so popular.
15. Going Out Because You Are Happy
Sometimes, people go out when they are feeling happy.
16. Going Out Because You Are Miserable
Other times, people go out when they are feeling miserable.
17. Going Out Before Doing Something Stupid and Funny
In both cases, people can do stupid things, which have a saving grace in that they become funny stories for the future.
18. Going Out Before Doing Something Stupid and Not So Funny
Of course, people also do stupid things that aren’t so funny after going out, often because of the irreparable damage done in the process. Still, that can have a use as songwriting inspiration.
19. Feeling Stuck in Your Hometown
You may or may not have ever felt stuck in your hometown. Even if you haven’t, chances are good you have heard of people who felt that way. This is a great topic for songwriting. That is particularly true if you connect it to people’s dreams of all the things they will grow up to do.
20. Returning to Your Hometown
Returning home is a popular theme. For instance, the UVM Fleming Museum points out that one of the Odyssey’s major themes is nostos, meaning “homecoming.” It is still very much possible for people to feel that way in modern times.
21. How You’ve Changed Even Though Your Hometown Hasn’t
If you have been away from your hometown for a long time, you might be surprised by how it has remained the same even though you feel like you have become a different person.
22. How Your Hometown Has Changed Even Though You Haven’t
Alternatively, you might be surprised by how much your hometown has changed even though you are still more or less the same person.
23. Your City Transitioning Through the Seasons
The cycle of seasons is another time-honored motif. Consider using it in the context of the city where you live.
24. Commuting in Your City
Many of us have to commute. It can be boring, but it can also give interested individuals time to think. As a result, you can use commute as a springboard for all sorts of things in your songwriting.
25. Visiting Somewhere Far Away
Visiting far-off locations is inherently interesting. You can focus on either the process or the place involved in the process.
26. Moving Somewhere Far Away
The New York Times provides a good reminder that moving is extremely stressful. Thanks to that, moving to a far-off location is a much bigger deal than just visiting the same place, thus offering a different set of songwriting themes.
27. Imagine You Are Somewhere You Know No One
Imagine going somewhere so far away that you know absolutely no one. A lot of people would find that a frightening thing. However, some would find it liberating instead.
28. Asking Someone For Help
Everyone needs help from time to time. Despite this, asking for help can be quite challenging.
29. Offering Help to Someone Else
There are some remarkable songs in which the viewpoint characters swear to stand by someone else. That makes it clear this songwriting prompt has potential.
30. Something Small You Enjoy
Songs don’t have to be about big things. Consider writing about one of life’s simpler pleasures.
31. Something Small You Detest
The reverse would be writing about something that isn’t that important in the grand scheme of things but can still make you lose your cool.
32. Being Outside On a Bright, Sunny Day
Bright, sunny days serve as excellent backgrounds for optimistic songs. With that said, it might be interesting if you decide to play against those expectations. After all, bad things are capable of happening on bright, sunny days in much the same way they can happen on any other day.
33. Being Outside On a Dark, Stormy Day
Storminess makes for wonderful imagery. If you have ever been fascinated by the spectacle of thunder and lightning playing out overhead, you should remember those emotions for your songwriting.
34. Looking Out Upon the Earth
National Geographic and other sources have written much about how astronauts have been changed by looking upon the Earth from space. However, if you have ever been in a plane’s window seat, you can fuel your songwriting using your reactions upon seeing the landscape unfurl before you.
35. Looking Up At the Stars
Sadly, looking up at the stars isn’t as common as it used to be. USA Today states light pollution is a serious problem becoming more so. Despite this, the stars retain their storied ability to inspire those who see them.
36. Marching In Tune with the Times
Modern society is changing faster than ever before. Chances are good you have your thoughts on this matter. Consider using them to write about marching in tune with the times.
37. Being Left Behind By Trends
It is terrifying to feel as though you have been left behind by the times. After all, it feels like obsolescence, which is unpleasant in an era when that often means quick disposal. Certainly, it has fueled more than one work of the imagination.
38. Fear of Loneliness
Fear of loneliness is one of the most justified fears there is. The CDC has outright compared its health effects to those of obesity and smoking. Not that most people need much warning about loneliness. It is one of the things we know to avoid instinctively, which makes it great source material for songwriting.
39. Fear of Loss
Speaking of which, it is also very common for people to fear loss. You can go any number of ways on this one, particularly since you can fear losing so many different things.
40. Dealing With Loss
Unfortunately, everyone has to deal with loss from time to time. Different people have different methods for handling their grief. Art has been tried-and-true since time immemorial.
41. Remaining Hopeful in Hopeful Times
It is easy to remain hopeful in hopeful times. You can play this straight. Alternatively, you can also take shots at the faults and flaws of the fundamental premise.
42. Remaining Hopeful in Not-So-Hopeful Times
Hope is most powerful when people are living in not-so-hopeful times. As such, this pairing makes for a powerful writing prompt.
43. Imagine a World in Which Everyone Chooses to Live in Their Dream World
People often express a preference for living in the real world rather than in a dream world. However, some argue there is no meaningful difference if they can’t tell one from the other, meaning that a dream world in which everything works out perfectly might be preferable. Of course, you can also use this to criticize people you see as indulging in escapism to too great an extent.
44. Imagine a World in Which Everyone Has the Necessities of Life
Utopianism has inspired a great deal of art. If you need songwriting inspiration, try thinking about what a perfect world would look like.
45. The Gradual Loss of Wildlife
The WWF reports that global wildlife populations have seen an average decrease of 69 percent over the last five decades. That should be more than concerning enough to serve as inspiration.
46. The Changing of Seemingly Unchanging Things
Just because we think something is unchanging, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is so. Consider using the emotions from seeing the change of seemingly unchanging things to fuel your songwriting.
47. Getting Revenge
Anger can drive people to extreme responses. Such dramatic choices make great sources of inspiration.
48. Getting Revenge By Living Well
With that said, different people can seek revenge in different ways. For instance, some people choose to do so by living well, thus proving that whoever or whatever hurt them hasn’t managed to bring them low. Gloating about this may or may not be a part of the package.
49. Letting Go of Something You Have Held Close For a Long Time
There are some things you should hold onto for a lifetime. However, there are also other things you should let go of before you are either poisoned or otherwise affected negatively by them. There can be a moving sense of catharsis from doing so.
50. Fight Song
We often have to pump ourselves up before we are ready to tackle a difficult challenge. As such, there is still a place for fight songs.
You can also read:
- 50 Awesome Argumentative Writing Prompts
- 50 Awesome Persuasive Writing Prompts
- 50 Awesome Memoir Writing Prompts
- 50 Awesome Dialogue Writing Prompts
- 50 Awesome Writing Prompts for Couples