Most songwriters would agree that keeping your songwriter’s antenna switched on to the world around you at all times is the best way to come up with great song ideas.

Being observant and keeping your mind constantly open for new ideas through your experiences, thoughts, feelings and observations can lead to some interesting songs.

But flicking through stacks of old thrift shop photographs does it for New York singer-songwriter Elisa Flynn (pictured above; photo by Elizabeth Graham). She finds that random second-hand photos of strangers can inspire lots of innovative ideas.

“I once picked up an evocative and weird picture of a woman in the woods balancing a tuft of moss on her wild, orange hair,” Elisa told Courier Life’s Brooklyn Daily. “It inspired me to write a song about the woman being lost in the woods and how she wants to stay there.”

Try looking at old photos of people you don’t know, and ask yourself Who? What? Where? When? How? and Why?-type questions about each photo. The answers to these questions may generate words, phrases and lyrical themes that could stimulate some interesting song ideas!

Of course, a good title or a lyric line can also come from overhearing a conversation on a train or in a café … or an event that you witness … or while you’re waiting at a traffic light. Similarly, a headline in a newspaper, on a website, or a billboard might spark a great idea for a song.

What is the strangest source of inspiration you’ve ever found for one of your songs?

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How (Not) To Write A Hit Song! – 101 Common Mistakes To Avoid If You Want Songwriting Success’ is now available from Amazon’s Kindle Store for only US$7.22 or GB£4.78.

Read a sample of the book HERE (USA) and HERE (UK and Europe).

Also available from Apple’s iTunes Store (Books/Arts & Entertainment/Music).

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