9♦ Nine of Diamonds in The Rock Songwriter’s Deck: 52 Ways to Write a Song
The Nine of Diamonds believes in learning from the successes of the past. This is the Playlist Method of songwriting.
Create a playlist of 6-12 songs that are similar to the kind of song that you want to write. They might be songs that all have a similar theme or feel, or perhaps just songs that you admire.
Listen carefully to the songs in the playlist. Take note of anything that they all have in common, and, whatever that common thread is, be sure to do the same thing in the new song that you're going to write.
Now, write your new song, and strive to create a song that will fit in perfectly when you add it to the playlist. You're not trying to copy bit and pieces of the other songs; that would get you into copyright trouble! But try to create something that uses the same musical vocabulary and evokes the same spirit.
When you're done, mix down your song and add it to the playlist. Listen to the songs in shuffle mode. Does your song fit in?
Ideally, a naive listener shouldn't even be able to tell which is your newly-created song and which are the older songs that served as your starting point. (Of course, that might not be realistic if you've picked top hit songs and you're just working with a handheld tape recorder. But give it your best shot.)
If there obvious things that make your song stand out as different, then revise your song and try again. Keep at it until your new song truly captures the essence of your chosen playlist of songs.