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One of the questions I get asked most frequently as a professional songwriter is: “How do you stay inspired when writing every day?” And it’s a valid question — one with multiple answers!
Songwriters like me often draw from personal life and experience, or from the experiences of those around us; which is probably true of almost any writer in any literary format. But we may also get inspired by and invested in the characters in TV shows, films, and books as well. In fact, it is completely possible to get inspired by anything and everything in the world around you as a creative person. As long as you’re looking for it…
So that’s my answer to that question. I get inspired every day because I’m always looking for stories, characters, experiences, and narratives to write about.
If you waited around for inspiration to strike you, you’d have to watch each pitch opportunity, co-write, and artist session pass you by in the dark until that light bulb in your head finally turns on. That’s not a very effective way to make a living off of your craft, is it?
But that being said, inspiration isn’t always easy to find, and when you get stuck in your journey to find it, sometimes it’s not clear where to turn to hunt for more. Yet one of the most overlooked places to find fresh new ideas is actually right in front of your face, like right now: blogs!
We all have our unique interests — mine in particular are quite diverse — so I encourage you to make a list of your own favorite multidisciplinary blogs, but to get you started, here are 10 of my favorite blogs, musical and otherwise, that continually inspire my writing process.
1. We Heart
We Heart is a blog focusing on art, culture, lifestyle, and traveling. What better way to seek inspiration than to learn about something you’ve never seen before or previously discovered? We all know that the internet has a way of sending us down rabbit holes, and as a songwriter, you should welcome those journeys! Who knows, maybe there’s a story waiting just around the corner to take your songwriting to a whole new level.
Self-described as “an inventory of cross-disciplinary interestingness, spanning art, science, design, history, philosophy, and more,” Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings explores many different genres and ideas with multiple sources that can help you find something to be inspired by. Typically their posts will start with a quote, or a literary thought experiment, and dive deep into the stories or moments that inspired them.
3. Idea Sandbox
I love this website because it’s not just a great blog that opens my mind, it helps organize my brain at the same time! Idea Sandbox is a unique place to get ideas on how to map out your worksheets for developing song concepts and ideas, and keep you driving towards your next musical goal with efficiency.
SongTown is a really unique community of songwriters that help inspire growth and deliver unparalleled support to their readers, members, and peers. If you’re a writer looking for constructive criticism and helpful tips, definitely check their blog and service and events out.
5. Song Facts
Song Facts is an excellent blog to get inspiration from — its focus is around interviews of writers that many of us pros look up to, talking about songs they’ve written, and often through a historical lens.
No matter what PRO you’re registered with (are you?!), there’s something for every rising songwriter out there in their blogs and newsletters.
Not many musicians actually think to look here for some reason, even though PROs often have access to the most professional, most successful, and most charismatic artists and songwriters on the scene. Each of the above blogs focuses on a different aspect of musicianship and message too, so it’s really worth checking out all three!
What better place to look for motivation and inspiration then with a group of songwriters looking for just the same? Reddit offers an incredible forum platform for people to talk about pretty much anything, but their Songwriting subreddit is where the most engaged and thorough writers go to talk shop. You can’t find a truer community anywhere else.
Songwriting Pro is a blog written by a guy named Brent, a professional songwriter who’s lived through publishing deals, hits, and hard times, and this platform has become one of the best places to learn about all the things you might face down the road, with advice and tips on how keep yourself writing at all costs. There’s always a light at the end of that tunnel, Brent proves it.
Here’s a curveball for you! Even though at this point, Pinterest has gotten so big I’m not technically sure it can be considered a blog anymore, it remains an excellent place to get inspired on almost every level. Whether hunting for beautiful imagery for your tour poster or album cover, or a quote to boost your idea generation, it’s definitely worth visiting when you’re wracking your brain.
10. Shameless plug alert: Soundfly’s Flypaper
You knew this was coming. But you know what, we’re proud of our humble blog, Flypaper. Here you can read about almost every single aspect of music-making, as well as deep dives into music history, production tutorials, interviews, photo essays, tour diaries, etc., and from literally the best music writers on the planet! And if you really want to keep up to date, make sure to sign up for our weekly newsletter, the Soundfly Weekly, and learn something new every Tuesday without leaving your inbox.
Remember, if inspiration doesn’t come to you, you have to go find it. Good luck and happy writing.
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