I thought I’d start creating some prompt articles that give you some ideas for starting a new song when you’ve got some time to write. Remember, the point is to practice writing. Not everything will be a hit song, or even something you want to play for anyone else. Writing’s the thing!

The more you do it, the better you become.


Here are 5 Songwriting Tips To Prompt Your Pen and Your Instrument of Choice!


#1  Phone Number Roulette

Choose a phone number out of your phone or a nearby phone book if you happen to keep them, and write a song using the chords from the number. Pick any key. Don’t want 7 chords, you can cut it down to fewer chords by picking a number with a few zeros! You can decide to keep the same order of mix it up – your choice.


#2  How Old Are Your Friends?

Pick the ages of three friends and write a song using those chords. Again, order and number of friends is up to you. You may want to choose only two friends if you’ve got one who’s 114.


#3  Where’s That Grocery List!

Create a list about anything and think about why those things are on the list, what do they mean to you or to someone else in the song?

  • Today’s Grocery List
  • Things I’ve Lost
  • Places I’ll Never Go
  • Places As Hot As You
  • Places Hotter Than You . . . you get the idea


#4  Dictionary Bomb

Open a dictionary or thesaurus to a random page and put your finger on the page. What’s the key word in that general vacinity? Write it down. Do it again. Write it down. Do this as many times as you’d like (can stop at 3), but no more than 5 interesting words. Now connect them with a story.


#5  A Life Worth Telling

Visit your local paper’s Life Tributes or obituaries online, or pick up the Sunday paper and flip to the obituaries. Read through them. What interesting lives are you imagining? Is there something striking about someone’s life? Where does it take you?