Expert Music Career Advice For DIY Musicians

7 Easy Things You Can Do Right Now to Get Out of a Songwriting Rut

Features, Songwriting

Sep 9, 2014 09:30 AM

Kathleen Parrish

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Inspiration naturally comes and goes, but how do you bring back the spark when you’re in a rut? Songwriting takes heaps of creative energy, and, when it’s not there, writing can feel cliché and limited. Here are seven easy things you can do right now to get that creativity flowing again.

1. Take a shower

Some of the best ideas come when our minds have a break from focused consciousness. Science shows that taking warm showers increases dopamine flow, and, in turn, our mood and creativity.

2. Make a healthy meal

Besides getting your mind off songwriting, eating a healthy meal will elevate your overall mood and energy levels. Your brain requires twice as much energy as the rest of your body, so fuel it with good food for a boost in creativity.

3. Listen to a new song

We all have bands that inspire us, but rather than listening to your favorite song (you can do that too, if you'd like!), try something new. It will be new to your ears, and you may find some interesting chords to try for yourself. Just listen to the music instead of making judgments – you'll allow yourself to be much more open to new ideas that way.

4. Go for a walk or run

Give your mind a rest by changing up the scenery. Getting some fresh air is always helpful when feeling overwhelmed. Take a walk and enjoy the sounds and sights around you. If you feel like an extra push, go for a run instead. Increased endorphins are excellent for creativity.

5. Try another form of art

Sometimes trying another art form can spark creativity in our songwriting. Sketch, paint, or build whatever comes to mind. It's easy to feel critical when we're doing an art form that isn't as fluent to us, but just have fun and get those ideas out!

6. Watch a movie

Getting lost in another story helps us relax, and often times inspires what we’ve seen to be worked into a song. Whatever genre you love, grab a movie and immerse yourself in it.

7. Write freely

We are one of the biggest restrictions we place on ourselves. We often criticize our writing rather than letting it flow freely. For someone like myself who plans what I write in my head first, this exercise is fantastic for letting go of that critical mindset. Grab a pen and paper and write for 5 or 10 minutes straight. It doesn’t have to make sense or even be lyrics – just write. Later on, you can come back to these free-writes and see if anything stands out that you’d like to develop into a song.


What are some of your favorite ways to ignite creativity when you’re feeling in a rut? Let us know in the comments below!


Kathleen Parrish is a singer and songwriter from Seattle, WA. While she specializes in lyrics, she enjoys writing short stories, poetry, and journalism. For more information, please visit

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