According to one definition: “The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.” Doesn’t that sound being directly related to writing music, writing a song?
So we are looking to be mentally stimulated, to feel a certain way, via a stimulus or stimuli, in order to drive into a creative result. So do I go out and look for stimuli in order to be inspired to write new music? I don’t believe you have to. Because since you know you are a creative person, you are already converting various stimuli into something creative (music in the case of songwriters). So you, are the conversion mechanism. You are the translation engine of a certain inducement. Think about this. This to me is certainly something magic. Call it divine, if a believer, call it special, call it significant. Whatever your preferred term, us songwriters are very particular people. Extraordinary no doubt. I have to admit I hadn’t realized that during my younger years. Make no mistake, to sit at a piano when there’s silence and to create a unique melody that resonates even with one person, that ability, makes you extraordinary. There was silence, then there was unique creation that someone found valuable. If one person liked it, you created a fan of that project of yours. Your song.
Inspiration can source from anywhere. However do you need to get inspired in order to write a song? Yes and no. After writing songs for more than three decades I am convinced that songwriting is both art and craft. It is possible to dip into both in order to complete your project and finalize your song and I am certain that when both, art and craft, are balanced appropriately, that’s when you get the best results.
However, specifically, within this sub-section of “The Evolution of a Song” part of my website, I will concentrate on the art part and specifically with inspiration.
One of the best songs I ever wrote, lyrically, was inspired by a particular scene of the finale of the series Homeland season 2. That scene however, provided the kick-start inspiration. Then the rest of the song’s lyrics went….”elsewhere”. It was more than enough inspiration however. The theme was, “bad things happen when you least expect it”. While Brody thought he was set and saved, well….”things changed” (to avoid a complete spoiler).
I will leave you with this: I have read that there are four elements that when present, creativity maximizes.
And I do believe those are all true for inspiration (which leads to creativity). I have been through phases in my life where some of the above elements were in short supply and phases that all were flourishing in abundance and I saw the results for myself. Of course, everyone is different, no doubt. But with me, time, space, humor and confidence are all equally important and when combined and in plethora, I always got great amounts of inspiration which leads to creativity.
One constant factor I found being greatly important however is: age (in the sense of experience). The more you go through life, the longer you live, the more experiences you go through, the more you have to “pick” from the “shelf” of inspiration in order to get to the goal line, creativity. Experiences can be accelerated however, to compensate for the factor “age” and that is why it’s important to:
How you translate all this info will be critical and that’s where that “translation mechanism” mentioned above comes into play once again. Facts of life are only partially important. What’s even more critical is how we translate those observed facts. That observation engine, I am sure, is closely related to our creative part of our brains.
Inspiration, will source from observed facts, which will then cause our fact-translators kick in, in order to create something unique, which may resonate and create value for someone. This equation I believe, very much describes what happens to us songwriters during the process of “From Silence to Music”.