Sometimes, inspiration comes flooding in, pouring down…demanding to be heard and felt. Other times, it is a scarce resource, a long lost lover, and unless you listen very closely, you will miss it. Inspiration can be very fickle, because ultimately, it depends on your willingness to be affected by something. (Maybe, I’m just saying that I can be very fickle?)
I believe wholeheartedly that you can find inspiration ANYWHERE. I have written songs based on a line I heard in a movie, or a scene in my favorite show. I’ve written songs based on the things other people in my life are going through, and I have written songs based on things that I am going through. There really are no boundaries in where you can find inspiration. I think the more important thing to talk about is what you do once inspiration jumps in your line of sight.
I have a habit of writing down lines from movies, shows, and every day conversations that I think could someday grow up to be a song. My phone is full of notes with random phrases, half sentences, paragraphs upon paragraphs, and sometimes just single words. That is one of the ways that I attempt to “capture” inspiration when I come across it. Now, the problem with this method, is that it only gets you somewhere if you do something with those phrases and strung out soon-to-be-lyrics after you jot them down. It only works if you create something out of those little moments of inspiration. Otherwise, they will sit in your phone for years and become a very very faint memory of half-laying on your couch watching Elementary at 6:30 pm on some Wednesday night two years ago. (not that I have ever let that happen…)
What I have been learning these last few months, is that songwriting is a discipline. Yes, I could write a song every few months without too much effort on my part, and they would turn out okay. But writing good music that may someday inspire someone else…that takes some effort. So, once you have acquired the idea, the spark of a melody or the hint of a good lyric….don’t let yourself be lazy and keep it in your phone for two years before you do something with it! Sit down and write. The song may not be a Grammy-winning masterpiece (yet) but you have to start somewhere. Starting somewhere is sometimes the hardest part.