A song prompt is a starter. It’s a way to get to a song by assigning yourself a specific focus.
The benefit of a prompt is that you’ve got a way to keep writing songs even when you may not feel particularly inspired. That way, when inspiration does hit, you’ve practiced so many times you’ve got the tools to make your inspired idea shine!
They also keep you from writing the same old song ideas: love, loss, regret, happy beer mug raisers, etc. They get you onto a different path every now and again.
Who knows, something surprising may happen!
As an example, Nanci Griffith’s “Love At The Five And Dime” came from a prompt assignment she chose to complete. The song ended up being Kathy Mattea’s first single and breakthrough hit in 1986.
Tips To Take Advantage of the Prompts
- Don’t get bogged down in delivering exactly what the prompt outlines. This is about jogging your brain and getting the creativity going, so have fun!
- Don’t just pick prompts that you’ve already got ideas for in your hook book. Go for the unusual or those that seem off the wall. You’ll be amazed at what can happen with prompts you initially think . . . well that’s just nonsense!
- Start collecting your own prompts so you have an endless supply. You can store them in the back of your hook book to keep them separate from your hooks and other song ideas.
- Complete a prompt-inspired song at least once a month to make sure you’re pushing your song craft thought processes and writing.