Creativity could mean many things. To write a song that actually resonates you will have to draw from sources of inspiration that go method beyond music.
We are still learning a lot about creativity from modern psychology and neuroscience, however, lots of its power is said to lie in divergent thinking.
Which means drawing on various key areas of your mind—not just the ones related to music.
Flexing your creative muscles in different methods will help if you truly sit down to start a song.
However, when music is your main medium, understanding where to look for other sources of inspiration could be vague and confusing.
Whether you struggle with writer’s block or just wish to attempt something other than music to get the creative juices flowing, here are just a few ideas to find inspiration outside of music.
Any type of extended reading could strengthen your vocabulary and enhance your lyricism.
And it does not have to be dense classic literature.
Even if it is just reading for pleasure, well-written prose could invoke strong sensations of mood and feeling. The essential part is to give yourself an exercise in abstract imagination
Based on a study from 2013, reading a novel could also strengthen brain connectivity in regions related to perspective taking, story comprehension, and language processing.
Interacting with writing in any method could grow these connections.
Writing your own short stories, attending poetry events or pulling entries from your diary are all good methods to carry these skills to your songwriting.
2. Tabletop role-playing games
Tabletop roleplaying games are an exercise in collaborative storytelling. Players assume the roles of characters and roll dice to find out results.
The most recognizable tabletop RPG is undoubtedly Dungeons & Dragons, where players turn into elves and half-orc dungeoneers who battle necromancers and gelatinous cubes.
It is an exercise in simple math and imagination—a lot like music if you consider it!
It’s additionally a good way to hang out with friends or bandmates while building a story together and doing something creative.
John Dwyer of the garage-punk band Oh Sees remarks, “Dungeons and Dragons was an enormous part of my childhood … It was the primary taste I had of imagination-based stuff. I still get immense enjoyment out of writing and playing live, because it is like that magical dopamine kick of making from nothing.”
Bands such as California X or Bolt Thrower even use D&D or games just like the closely-related Warhammer 40k as inspiration in songwriting.
There are also music or band-themed tabletop games such as the Bowie-inspired Velvet Generation, a game about intergalactic outlaws and rock and roll.
3. Visual Art
Painting, drawing, visual design and art generally could help you get in the abstract creative zone to find inspiration outside of music. It is relaxing and creative at a similar time.
While loads of musicians claim to have synesthesia, it’s fairly simple for most people to think about how colors and visual pairings could go hand in hand with music.
For instance, the right album artwork could fully change your perspective on a track or piece of music.
When you make your own album cover you could use the artwork in your fliers or promotional materials for a highly original look.
If making visual art is not your strong suit, you could go to a gallery or museum to get thinking about how you could channel artistic concepts into your music.
Meditation is a good way to focus your mind without concentrating on anything.
It’s an enduring exercise with demonstrated benefits for the mind and body. Concentrating on breathing and locking into the “zone” is also an essential component of live efficiency.
Zen and meditation were avid interests for jazz good John Coltrane. The themes and structure for his masterpiece A Love Supreme were impressed directly by an early morning meditation session with his wife.
For some people, going for a walk or simply exercising could be meditative. It gets your blood flowing and places your mind and body in a greater place.
When you have not meditated before, there are many meditation centers, books, and apps that may help. However, the main idea is to set your head properly and provide you with creative clarity.
Sometimes doing nothing could be an essential gateway to beginning with a blank canvas.
Traveling is like superfood for your creativity to find inspiration outside of music. It’s fun, relaxing and it feeds your mind with constant new experiences.
Traveling helps you learn more about cultures, languages, customs and other ways of doing things all over the world.
It could give you a greater understanding of new perspectives and cultures. That could inform your music or lyrics with newfound experiences or restore your focus by getting away from your regular routine.
Even if you are constantly touring, taking time off to travel for yourself could be essential for spending time with your family and friends and replenishing your willpower.
Of course, getting outside of your everyday surroundings could also be inspiring for writing and recording.
There are countless musicians who swap coasts to cut a record, hole up in cabins in the woods with a 4-track, or travel abroad with the express intent of recording verses in Parisian hotel rooms.
Creativity is a complicated problem. There is no simple reply once you’re stuck with writer’s block.
However, branching out from music to search out creative pursuits elsewhere could refresh your perspective and stimulate new ideas.
Whether it is reading, painting or D&D, there are plenty out there to get your creative juices flowing.
Attempt these non-musical creative exercises the next time you are looking for inspiration.