In the book Songwriters on Songwriting, Paul Simon talks about “discovering” a song rather than “inventing” a song. He said he likes to learn what the song is about along with the audience.
Jon Foreman talks about songwriting like digging for buried treasure.
“Every day, you dig,” Foreman says. “And sometimes you come across a lost city. And it feels like something that is a little bit more timeless than something that’s got my fingerprints on it.”
I love this idea. It’s like discovering dinosaur bones. It relieves some of the pressure to invent a song and it frees you up to just go find what you find.
So I’m going to list a bunch of ideas that can help spark your songwriting sessions, but these are by no means rules. These are tools to help you dig and discover — tools to help you uncover your lost city.
Now let’s dive into practical things you can do right now to help you generate more song ideas.