Lyrically Stuck? Think Like Eddie Vedder

Writing lyrics like Eddie VedderEarlier this week, Eddie Vedder announced the venues for his upcoming solo tour, stopping in 13 cities to promote his 2011 album “Ukelele Songs.” The tour begins on April 11th in Las Vegas, and then works across the country, ending on May 16th in Orlando.  Pearl Jam embarks on its European tour just one month after.

Vedder’s passion-filled lyrics, ranging in topics from personal to political, have made him one of the most prominent songwriters of the rock-and-roll genre.  Pair that with his signature singing style, and you’ve got the makings of one of the most influential bands of all time.

If songwriting is something that you want to improve on, honing in on your creativity is an important skill to learn.  We suggest checking out our previous posts on writing lyrics and breaking songwriter’s block, but if you’re still not feeling creative, don’t stress too much.  For many musicians, finding new and unique ideas – and just plain motivation – are the hardest parts.  In order to help you out of that rut, here are 3 more exercises to find inspiration for song lyrics:

1.  Location Inspiration: Find lyric-writing inspiration through location

Location is very important when writing, because atmosphere affects your creative energy.

For example, it may be difficult to write sad or painful lyrics in a park. At a park you’d probably feel relaxed and maybe a little content or happy. This atmosphere wouldn’t work to channel sadness, unless you have a sad memory attached to the park (more on object inspiration next). In an empty and run-down apartment, you probably wouldn’t feel happiness, so it’d be the best location to write a “painful” lyric or two. Even your kitchen is different from your living room in evoking creative emotion. Choose the best location to write your song lyrics.

2. Object Inspiration: Find lyric-writing inspiration through objects

Rarely does inspiration just come from within. Songwriters surround themselves with things that will inspire their next creative work.

– Open a photo album and reminisce on old memories attached to your target emotion.
– Read old letters and remember where you were and what you felt when you first read them.
– Visit friends or family member you haven’t seen in a while, to get inspired.
– Watch a television show or film where your target emotion is prevalent.
– Go to a familiar place and think about old memories from there.

Use whatever object you need to channel your target emotion.

3. Topic Inspiration: Find lyric-writing inspiration through a topic or idea

Imagine yourself in a particular situation. It could be a situation that’s happened to you, someone close to you, a group of people, or someone well-known.  Now put yourself there mentally and emotionally. How does it make you feel? Explore those feelings until you’ve found your target emotion. One way to make sure your lyric idea has the strongest inspiration is to brainstorm on universal topics – issues that large groups of people are experiencing.  Successful topics are often ones that many people find relatable.

Where do you go for inspiration?  Do you write in a specific room or place to get the creativity flowing?  Share your tips with the community by leaving a comment below!

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Photo by marco annunziata.

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1 reply
  1. Jerry Heim
    Jerry Heim says:

    Eddy, I walk around all night at all hours and string together lyrics and melodies. I have an idea. You and your band are so tight. Could you be the first band to walk out on stage and sing lyrics spontaneously and your band just jam along and see if the lyrics or the melody creates the song. The band could also start the song and show the crowd that it could be either case that causes the creativity. I not well versed in getting my thoughts across but it would be amazing to the audience to see how a song comes to fruition. If it’s a hit or a flop who gives a poop. Sincerely,
    Jerry Heim
    716-563-7030

    Be the first on your block to walk out on stage and say— this is a new song, every time. Take care
    Your Friend
    Jerry Heim.

    Reply

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