The working songwriter has generally developed a system for ideas for songs to write that works over time. Many talk about having no system, yet without at least a method for writing down or recording nothing would be done ultimately.
For the beginning songwriter, ideas for songs to write may seem a great challenge. Connie Kaldor, who conducts songwriting seminars in California when asked, “Where do you get your ideas?” states, “I think for starters it is best to work from what you know and that can be what you know about the human condition, yourself or your country or your dog. I write all the time. I get ideas in all sorts of situations, driving, drinking tea , anywhere. I usually try to have a piece of paper around and ideally I have my small tape recorder and just sing it onto tape.”
This is a good suggestion for any songwriter. Work with what you know. Even the most mundane of subjects can provide an interesting ideas for songs to write.Think about songs from the group, Bare Naked Ladies such as, “If I Had a Million Dollars.” Not all songs need be about love or heartbreak.
The point is, start writing and keep writing. Keep your supplies with you at all times. Paper or a small notebook and pencil, or even a small tape recorder (the old handy micro-cassette dictation recorders work well.)
What holds many creative people back, including songwriters is the instant immediate judgmental voice that shoots down every idea without allowing exploration. Connie Kaldor says that she never turns down an idea or a creative jag. Ideas, even bad ideas, if allowed to flow, will lead to more ideas. Like anything else, the more you practice, the better you get. This philosophy holds true for gathering ideas for songs to write as well.
Kaldor suggests the exercise of imagining that one is someone else, another singer, another person to see what you might write for them. Write in the style of your favorite songwriter. The more you listen to other songwriters the more you know what you like and what you don’t. Every successful songwriter that has developed their own style has musical influences. To understand your own musical voice, understand what you admire in other songwriters. Study how their songs are constructed.
In summary, where ever you find your ideas for songs to write, developing a routine or system for writing will assure that you progress as a songwriter.