A poster to generate songwriting inspiration

Using the Idea Generator Wheel for songwriters.

The SOURCE of ideas for songs can be found – literally – everywhere.

The Song Idea Generator Wheel not only focuses on where to find those ideas, but also includes tips about WHERE to write, WHEN to write (time of day, within a certain mood), and identifying items that will spark those moods and those times. Write in the morning! Burn the midnight candle! Wake the soul with a favorite beverage! Give yourself the time and space to be creative.

If you write what you care about, they will care about your songs…so write about the things you love and change the world one song at a time!

[If you want your own Idea Generator Wheel to hang on the wall for quick inspiration, go HERE.]

The full text of the Song Idea Generator Wheel is included below…

Ellis Paul's idea generator wheel for songwriters

Write What You Know

Write about what you love, what you hate, what is broken. Keep a journal with you. Write about relationships, your friends, your family, your love partners. The emotional connection to your life’s story will make the songs rich in emotion and believable. Write down days of your life to turn into songs. They made you an artist.

Books, Art, Movies

Writers are readers. Find quotes from books of poetry, fiction, non-fiction that inspire ideas of your own. Take a journal to a movie and write down lines that inspire you. Look at art: O’Keefe, Rockwell, Van Gogh, Wyeth. Write the story of their art. Use the Internet to find quotes that will trigger your ideas. Listen to great songs! 


Choose a historical figure you love: what made them unique? What is their back story that brought them to their prominence? What joy, what scars do they have? What obstacles blocked their path? Write their back story. Remember to show them in action. Let your descriptions explain their character to the listener. Write with a friend! 

Your Instrument

Improvise! Play until you find chords and riffs that feel like they are telling something. What is the mood? Romantic? Thoughtful? Angry? Attach the mood to someone in your life. Change the instrument. Change the tuning. Drop the “e” to “d”. Change is a new path to fresh ideas. Change the chord voicing. All you need is 3 chords and the truth! 


Write about: what you would steal. Your first kiss. Your greatest win. Your worst defeat. Your hometown. The day’s headlines. A non-human thing: a violin, a cat, a train. Write about a road trip. What will you be like at 100? A hero, a sinner, a saint. Write about what’s broken and how to fix it. (Woody Guthrie)


You are a conduit! Imagine every song is already here and you are discovering them. Stay out of the way and allow your stories, your people, your life to flow through your music. Keep the heavy-handed criticism away from the flow of the 1st draft. The more you write the greater the flow of ideas. Write the 1st draft in 72 hours!

Get your own copy of the Song Idea Generator Wheel at Ellis Paul’s web store.