Looking for the ultimate collection of songwriting prompts to cure that nasty bout of writer’s block?
Well, you’ve come to the right (write?) place!
In this article, our awesome gang of writers-slash-avid-songwriters have put together this all-encompassing list of 136+ songwriting prompts to cure writer’s block, organized by category and crafted for songwriting success.
Feel free to skim through the list and find the prompts that work best for you!
136+ Songwriting Prompts To Cure Writer’s Block
Songwriting Lyric Prompts
1. Write a song that consists of only verses (no chorus, bridge etc).
2. Write a song using the last text message you received as the main hook.
3. Write a song where the final line of every section is the same.
4. Visit a social media platform of your choice and write a song using the content of the first five posts you see.
5. Write a song where the chorus features different lyrics with each repetition.
6. Write a song written from the perspective of a character from the last TV show/movie you watched.
7. Write an acrostic song (where the first letter of each line spells out a word when read vertically).
8. Write a seven-verse song in which each verse represents a day from the last week of your life.
9. Write a song where each verse is about one of the posters on your bedroom wall.
10. Open a book and turn to a random page. Write a song that only uses the words featured on that particular page.
11. Use a random word generator and generate 10 words. Use these as inspiration for your song.
12. Close your eyes and spin around in a circle for 20 seconds. Write a song about the first thing you see when you open your eyes.
13. Write a song that tells a story in reverse order, with the first section serving as the conclusion and the last section serving as the introduction.
14. Write a song about your biggest secret.
15. Write a song in which every line features the same number of words.
16. Write a song in which every line features either an odd or even number of words.
17. Write a song about your greatest accomplishment.
18. Write a four-verse song where each verse represents one of the last four years of your life. Write the chorus from the perspective of the present day and the bridge from the perspective of yourself in a year’s time.
19. Write a song in which each verse represents one of your five senses (e.g. verse 1 is about what you can currently see, verse 2 is about what you can currently hear etc).
20. Think about the last time you had a conversation where your thoughts differed from what you actually said or did. Alternate each verse between the perspective of your thoughts and your words/actions.
21. Write a song about your favorite city.
22. Write a song with metaphorical verses and an alliterative chorus.
23. Write a 3-verse song in which each respective verse is written from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd person perspectives.
24. Flip through ten separate TV channels and write down the first sentence you hear on each channel. Write a song based on these sentences.
25. Write an entire song using just seven words.
26. Write a song in which none of the lyrics rhyme.
27. Write a song that’s a lyrical follow-up to the last song you wrote (i.e. it picks up from wherever your last song left off).
28. Watch a random TED Talk on YouTube and write a song based on its contents.
29. Write a song in which every line features exactly 7 words.
30. Take a notepad to bed and record your dreams for the next month. Once the month is up, write a song about the most vivid and/or significant dreams you had.
31. Take a magazine or newspaper article and chop it up into each individual words. Lay the individual words out in front of you and re-construct them into song lyrics (this is actually a technique that David Bowie used!)
32. If you have an instrumental demo ready to go, record yourself singing gibberish over the demo. Listen back to the recording and write words based on the sounds of the gibberish you just performed.
33. Write a song in which every line is closely related to the main hook of the song.
34. Write a song in a different language. Hunt around on Google Translate to try and find phrases that rhyme within the language.
35. Find three drafts of lyrics from songs you’ve previously written, but ended up scrapping. Chop, change and merge them together to create a song that trumps all three scrapped versions.
Songwriting Music Prompts
36. Visit a sample provider (such as Splice) and find a sample you like. Import it into your DAW and build a track around it.
37. Write a song using just one chord progression throughout. Use changes to the rhythm, arrangement, tempo and dynamics to keep it from sounding repetitive.
38. Write a song using the chord progression from the theme song of your favorite TV show.
39. Write a song with 4/4 verses and a 3/4 chorus.
40. Write a song with an acapella chorus.
41. Write a song with each section in a different time signature.
42. Write a song that changes key three times.
43. Write a song that changes tempo during the outro.
44. Write a song with a half-time bridge.
45. Write a song that moves through the circle of fifths in at least one section.
46. Write a song that starts and ends on a Major 7 chord.
47. Write down the chords from one of your favorite songs by another artist. Write a song using the same chords, but in a different order.
48. Write a song that changes key chromatically in at least one section.
49. Write a song that uses a tremolo pedal in the verses.
50. Write & record a song by just using an instrument and a loop pedal. Be sure to incorporate percussion into your arrangement.
51. Write a vocal line for a full song completely acapella. Once you’ve finished the lyrics and melody for the vocal line, write the music under it.
52. Play three of your favorite songs from other artists at the same time. Write a song based on the overlapping sounds you heard from the three tracks playing simultaneously.
53. Write an entire song in just 15 minutes. Try not to second guess things or experiment for unnecessarily long periods of time.
54. Turn on a TV show with the sound muted. Pick up an instrument and write a chord sequence inspired by the on-screen imagery (hint: this works particularly well with highly-visual movies, such as Tim Burton films or old-school horror films).
55. Listen to a recording of morse code and write a melody/chord sequence based on the rhythms you hear.
56. Write down the individual sections of a song (verse, chorus, bridge etc.) on scraps of paper and draw them at random from a hat. Structure your song in the chronological order you drew each section. (Hint: feel free to add multiple choruses & verses into the hat).
57. Write a song with loud verses and a quiet chorus
58. Stand outside (preferably in a slightly noisy environment) and record a voice note on your phone. Write a riff, melody or chord sequence based on the sounds you hear in the recording.
59. Use a random chord progression generator and generate four random chords. Write a song using those chords; feel free to re-order the chords if required!
60. Write a song according to the rules of renaissance counterpoint.
61. Write a song in a genre you’ve never written in before. Feel free to listen to a playlist for inspiration first!
62. Write a song based on a warm-up exercise you use when practicing your instrument of choice (fun fact: this is how the riff to Guns N’ Roses’ Sweet Child O’ Mine was written!)
63. Play the recording of one of your favorite songs backward. Write a song based on the backward recording.
64. Write a song with a stepwise melody in the verses and a non-stepwise (i.e. a skipping or leaping) melody in the chorus.
65. Write a song in which the melody spans 3 octaves.
66. Write a song in which the chorus is based in a lower register than the verses.
67. Write a song that uses at least three separate modes (Mixolydian, Phrygian etc).
68. Analyse three of your favorite songs and identify the specific songwriting techniques that make each song work. Create your own song using all of the standout techniques you identified.
69. Pretend you’ve been commissioned to write a song for the last band you listened to. Try and write something that would show progression in their musical development while still retaining their signature sound.
70. Write a song on (or for) an instrument you’ve never played before.
Nostalgic Songwriting Prompts
71. Write a song addressed to your childhood self.
72. Write a song addressed to your childhood best friend.
73. Write a song addressed to your parents.
74. Write a song about the activities you used to do with your sibling(s) as a child.
75. Write a song about the street you grew up on.
76. Write a song about the best year of your life.
77. Write a song about your favorite birthday party as a child.
78. Write a song that uses a lullaby-like melody.
79. Write a song about your childhood home.
80. Write a song about your first night at College/University.
81. Write a song in which each verse is about a different member of your family, with the chorus being about yourself.
Love Song Prompts
82. Write a song addressed your first partner.
83. Write a song addressed to your current partner.
84. Write a song about your first kiss.
85. Write a song about your ideal partner.
86. Write a song about your ideal date night.
87. Write a song addressed to your future spouse (if you haven’t met them yet).
88. Write a song about a couple you know/are friends with.
89. Write a song about the most meaningful romantic relationship you’ve had (and what made it so meaningful).
90. Write a song about falling in love at first sight.
91. Write a song about all the ways someone can say ‘I love you’.
92. Write a song about a potential romantic interest from your past that ‘got away’.
Worship Song Prompts
93. Write a song about your favorite bible story.
94. Write a song about one of the 4 major themes in the bible.
95. Write a song written from the perspective of your favorite biblical figure.
96. Write a song that serves as a follow-up or alternate perspective to your favorite worship song.
97. Write a song about God’s love.
98. Write a song about the cross.
99. Write a song about the times in which you’ve felt God’s presence.
100. Write a song about the birth of Jesus.
101. Write a song about the life of Jesus.
102. Write a worship song in an unconventional genre.
103. Write a song specifically for/about your church.
Happy Songwriting Prompts
104. Write a song about the last piece of good news you received.
105. Write a song about your greatest accomplishment.
106. Write a song in F Major (which is commonly referred to as the happiest key).
107. Write a song about the last party you went to.
108. Write a song with funky verses and an anthemic/stadium-ready chorus.
109. Write a song in which each verse describes your happiest moments over the last year.
110. Write a song about the last thing that made you smile.
111. Write a song about the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen.
112. Write a song based on one of your favorite feel-good movies.
113. Find a list of motivational quotes or affirmations and use them as inspiration for your lyrics.
114. Write a song about a sunny day.
Sad Songwriting Prompts
115. Write a song about the last time you were angry.
116. Write a song about an important goal you fell short of.
117. Write a song about your worst breakup.
118. Write a down-tempo piano ballad with acoustic guitar and strings as the backing arrangement.
119. Write a song in D minor (which is commonly referred to as the saddest key).
120. Write a song in which each verse describes your saddest moments over the last year.
121. Write a song in a minor tonality that holds each chord out for at least a full bar.
122. Write a song that uses dissonance.
123. Write a song that relies heavily on added 6ths and 9ths (which can provide a downbeat feel).
124. Write a song that makes use of eerie/ghostlike instrumentation.
125. Write a song with unexpected chord progressions (a technique that can evoke feelings of sadness).
Funny Songwriting Prompts
126. Write a song about your morning routine.
127. Write a song about the last thing that made you laugh.
128. Write a song written from the perspective of your family pet.
129. Write an acrostic song that spells out a humorous word of your choice.
130. Write a song about your favorite funny memory/story.
131. Write a song about a silly/humorous argument between two friends or lovers.
132. Write a song about the earth being ruled by zebras.
133. Write a song about an impatient trip to the grocery store.
134. Write a song about your most embarrassing first date.
135. Write a song that uses your favorite jokes as inspiration for the verses.
136. Write a parody of one of your favorite songs.
We hope you enjoyed our ultimate list of songwriting prompts! Why not check out our ultimate list of songwriting tips next?