Where To Begin?
The start can often be the most difficult part in the process of writing a song.
Here are some ideas to inspire you:
1. Keep a journal of ideas–write down everything that sparks you interest!
Unique title ideas, something someone said in a conversation, a metaphor you thought of on your drive home... all of these have the potential to be a start to a great song! I've been guilty of pulling out my phone and recording prayers, conversation, and sermons because the language or concept was so inspiring. Write them down and look them over often, get your wheels turning.
2. Record everything.
Ideas can be fleeting. How many of you have had a killer melody dance through your head as you drift to sleep and you think, "Surely, I'll remember that in the morning." Next thing you know, the night disappears and so does that melody. Snatch your phone and record melody ideas, even "bad" ones.
3. Become a "thief."
Catch a concept you've seen done well and explore your own way of expressing it.
“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent.” –Jim Jarmusch
4. Play a progression.
Play a progression on your guitar or piano, or ask a friend, and sing over it. Sometimes chords and cadences can spark a melodic idea or a lyric that fits the vibe.
5. Write for a cause or need.
Consider current events or the needs of a loved one. Are they hurting? Are they growing up? Are they excited about new love? Songs are a great way for people to process how they feel. Not everyone has the gift of writing, so think about what other might need to express and write for them.
There's really no "wrong" or "best" way to start a song. Do whatever works for you in the moment! If you always start the same way, that's fine. If it looks different every time, that's fine too. Inspiration usually comes to those who are looking for it, so open your eyes!
Nia is our social media + web content coordinator, as well as a worship leader and writer. She is fascinated with art and the powerful vessel it is for the Gospel. Learn more about Nia.