A blog about songwriting and about the songwriter Luigi Cappel

Posts tagged ‘song ideas’

Books are full of song ideas

I don’t usually suffer for a lack of ideas to write songs about because I am always open to them. I read lots of books and always find a way to keep notes or make sure I can find my way back to lines that caught my attention.

I recently found a highlighter that also has a Post It flag dispenser in it. This means that with just the one device you can highlight your notes and put  flag on the page so you can find it again. Many of the books I read, especially non fiction, are full of Post It flags.

I also found a card of different colored Post It flags which is like a bookmark, so I often carry that with me as well, especially when I am travelling. Really handy when I’m on a plane and I’ve forgotten to take a pen out of my jacket which is now in the overhead luggage compartment and I have thewindow seat.

Something else that you need is something to take notes on, or even write lyric ideas. You need to have this anytime, anywhere. I have 2 lyric books, which are A5 (half an A4) and ringbound, so I can easily fold it around and write on both sides easily. Sometimes, such as the previous example, I don’t have quick access to it. I often carry around a blank A4 sheet of paper in my jacket as well. If neither of those work, I use anything and a common one for me is the back of a business card. It’s amazing how much you can fit on one of those if you are desperate.

Sometimes you are in a position where you have to memorise what you have written, such as when you are in the shower.  Then I go back to the rote memorisation I learned at school, just repeating it over and over again and hope that I don’t get distracted by anything or anyone before I can get pen to paper. That’s what I did with my new song that I am still writing, ‘When Madison Smiles’, but now I’m digressing.

Basically what I wanted to share is that the books you read are full of ideas that you can write songs about. The key to me is a subject that touches you strongly, or that you have a strong opinion about. Good songs are written with passion and from the heart. If you keep that in mind when you are reading, writers block should not be an issue. Of course if you don’t read books, magazines and newspapers are also great building materials to grow ideas from.

The most importand things are:

  1. Be open for new ideas all the time
  2. Have a way to highlight or find the idea again later when you need it
  3. Keep paper or books and a pen or pencil handy at all times, even when you are in bed asleep, especially when you are in bed asleep and this is often when you are most creative.
  4. If you are really organised, find a way to catagorise the texts you have highlighted. Coloured tags could be a way to do that. Most songwriters though don’t tend to be that well organised in my experience, but you should consider whether you are writing for fun or as a hobby or as a mental health tool, or whether it is a business or career, If it is the latter then you should treat it the same way as you do a job. If you are doing a job, of course you have the right tools on hand.
  5. Finally, if you do become successful and maybe even famous, the paper you originally scribbled your lyrics on could become very valuable, as collectors items although not necessarily to you personally, but perhaps your children or other important people in the future. For example someone made 1,000 prints of the John Lennon song ‘Little Flower Princess’ from his original writing and is selling them for $150 EACH at eBay right now!
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Now is the time to write your Christmas song

It’s not unusual around November to get opportunities to do something with your Christmas song, but if you haven’t written and recorded at least your demo it’s going to be too late. I don’t know about you but listening to Snoopy chasing the Red Baron anything more than once a year is more than I can take. So how about writing one now and be ready for the opportunity.

Christmas songs don’t have to be all about Jingle Bells, there are many poignant songs about Christmas these days. Songs about please bring dad home for Christmas or, well here I some ideas to get you started. How about trying one of these as an exercise?

  • Christmas Love
  • Christmas Stress (Think about all those people doing last minute Christmas shopping and how happy they look, not)
  • Christmas Shopping
  • I don’t know what to buy you for Christmas
  • All I want for Christmas is a new girlfrind/boyfriend
  • Christmas Blues (I actually have a CD of famous Blues artists performing Christmas Blues, I can’t be the only person who bought it)
  • Family Christmas
  • Christmas on the beach (that’s what a lot of us do in New Zealand and Australia)
  • I love/hate Christmas shopping
  • My Christmas gift to you is me
  • I didn’t want you for Christmas I wanted a new guitar
  • What Christmas means to me
  • My gift to you is this song

That should give you a few ideas for a start. The song doesn’t have to be all about Christmas either. My Christmas song is called Another Stretch in Iraq and you can hear it on my MySpace page.

Oh and a little favour. If you thought this was useful or you liked my song, I would really appreciate it if you would click on the Demand It Competition banner on my MySpace page and vote for me in the Eventfull Competition, I really could use the help:)

If you found this useful and you know of anyone else who i a songwriter and could use some ideas, how about sending them a link?

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