When you’re writing a song, what you’re really doing is taking an aural photograph of what ever is going on internally within you and externally around you at the time of writing.
This requires two of the most important skills any songwriter needs to acquire and master. Observation and Mindfulness.
Observation is the art of noticing what is happening around you. It allows you to connect physically with the world you live in. It requires you to utilise all of your senses to describe what it is that you see and hear around you, what something tastes and smells like and even articulate into words the texture of what something feels like to touch.
Mindfulness is the art of noticing what is happening within you. It connects you emotionally with your feelings about the world around you. It requires your mind to be still so you can allow yourself to adequately describe the emotions of happiness, sadness, anger, joy, resentment, melancholy and so on, that are constantly swirling around within your mind.
My belief is that songwriting ideas are anywhere and everywhere but by honing your observation and mindfulness skills you’ll be able to construct song lyrics and musical ideas based on what you’re experiencing physically as well as emotionally.
When you can, take some time out to look at the world around you (with notepad and pen in hand) and describe what your five senses perceive as well as how you feel about your perceptions. I believe that even in your everyday life you can take five minutes out of what you are doing and just observe (and be mindful of) your surroundings.
What you get at the end of the exercise may not be an award winning set of song lyrics but it’s a start.
In conversation, you might hear someone say something that makes you think of a great line for a chorus or while reading the paper, you see a headline that sparks an idea for another song. Write it all down, record the idea onto your smart phone and always be prepared for the next songwriting idea may just be around the corner. If you allow it.
Songwriting ideas are indeed anywhere and everywhere… All you need to do is take the time and make the time to feel, observe and listen to them.