Song Prompt: Eleven More Things

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

What’s better than a song prompts list of “more things” to get your brain working and go somewhere you didn’t imagine?

These prompts can help generate some song or poem starters you can relate to quickly and easily.  You’ll spend less time trying to manufacture a scene, characters or circumstances, and get right into the writing!

Best for: writing lyrics development.

  • Start by free styling to get some thoughts down
  • Don’t worry about a song structure or rhyme
  • Write down whatever pops into your head associated with the prompt
  • Circle the words you think are interesting
  • Write a single line saying what you think the song idea is
  •  Go ahead and note a structure

It can be something as simple as verse/chorus/verse/chorus/chorus or verse/verse/verse.  You don’t have to stick with it – but it will give you a framework so you can focus on the lyrics.

Choose some chords you’re comfortable with to start. You can always change them later as you work through the melody and create variations.

Try not using an instrument and simply sing into a voice memo app. You’ll find the chords later. This will allow you to create something that is not restricted to what you know how to play.

Find a quiet spot and focus!

1Things that make you late
2Things in detective novel
3Things that happen early
4Things that come come in cans or boxes
5Things that come in 3s or pairs
6Things you can see from a car or bus window
7Things you do not deserve / or conversely deserve
8Things in the glove box
9Things you’ll never get right
10Things at a camp site
11Things that make you smile / or conversely cry

OK, so Guy Clark changed “things” to “stuff” and never actually used a prompt – but, this is a great example of how a “thing” or “stuff” prompt could turn into a great song. There’s no better song about an old blue shirt.

Here’s my favorite version of Guy Clark’s “Stuff That Works” from Texas singer-songwriter Jack Ingram:

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