Quotations are those little gems of wisdom that people come up with regarding any topic that you can think of.

I love them.

I’ve always thought of quotations as condensed forms of insight that songs could be created from. I’m sure there have been many songs that were inspired by a choice quote or phrase.

As songwriters, our craft is in the dealing of both words and music so therefore it makes perfect sense to immerse ourselves in these things. Reading a book of quotes is a great way to get a songwriting idea.

Instead of condensing information from a story into a song (something big into something smaller) you’re taking something very condensed and creating a story which then becomes the song.

Heres how I would do it:

1. Find a quote that catches your eye.
There will be a lot of quotes that you will just gloss over but every now and then you will read something that will make you sit up and take notice.

For some reason it has struck a chord in you.

When this happens write the quote down.

2. Start analysing the quote.
Ask yourself these questions and write down the answers. Why did the quote stop you in your tracks?

What images flashed through your mind when you read that quote? Is there a story or event that comes to mind from reading the quote?

Start brainstorming some ideas. Perhaps use a mind map.

3. Start putting all of the pieces together.
By now you will have a longhand version of you thoughts, feelings and memories inspired by this quote.

Look at what you’ve written as a jigsaw puzzle waiting to be put together. If you find that there are missing pieces then make it up.

You’re a songwriter, use your imagination.

My favourite place to be inspired is MusicThoughts, a website created by CD Baby founder Derek Sivers as a place where quotes regarding music, songwriting and the creative process can live and be discovered by all who seek to be inspired

However, there are some other great quotation directories on the web which I turn to from time to time just to see if I can be inspired by someone else’s pearls of wisdom. Sites such as…

With a little bit of web research under your belt you’ll find that most of the sites you come across will allow you to search quotes via keyword, such as songwriting or music so have a look and see what you can come up with. I wonder how many songs can be created.

I’m also giving this songwriting technique a shot and I’ll let you know how I go.

Until next time, happy writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting