This is both the easiest and the toughest step of the entire songwriting process, as it’s incredibly broad, and while that can be helpful in some ways, it’s also very frustrating in others. Inspiration is everywhere. It is literally everything, and it can appear out of anywhere at any time. Inspiration can come from something as momentous as the birth of a child or the dissolution of a marriage to a plastic bag floating in the wind (thanks, Katy Perry).
When inspiration strikes, make a note of it. For those who focus only on lyrics, write it down in a notebook.
If it’s a sound, try to capture it in your phone (which actually happened to Billie Eilish’s brother1, who then used an everyday sound to create her No. 1 smash “Bad Guy”). If you happen upon a fun melody, hum it into a recorder. We all have the technology we need right in our pockets at all times to ensure nothing is forgotten, so make use of it!
Also, the heading of this section is a bit misleading, as it’s tough to seek out inspiration. Ideally, it finds you, and when it appears out of nowhere, an artist (of any kind) must do everything they can to capture it in a bottle (metaphorically) and never let it disappear.