4 Tips for Overcoming Writer’s Block

Writer’s block.  It’s something that happens to the best of us.  And when it happens it can be hard to get out of that creative rut.  So if you are musically struggling to create something new here are four tips that will help you get back in the grove and back to writing music.

1. Take inspiration from other artist’s music

Listening to other artist’s music is a great way to get inspired.  Listen to some of your old favorites or browse YouTube or Spotify for some new music.  You could even hit up a record store to try and find something interesting that you’ve never heard before.  I can’t help but feel inspired to write music whenever I hear a great song.  It will inspire you to make something just as great.  And even if you fall short of creating something great, you can still end up creating something good that you’ll be very happy with.

To take this a step further try to actively learn from the music that your listening to.  If you are a songwriter, try learning a song’s chord progression and lyrics and make a cover.  If you are a producer then try recreating the production.  Analyze the instrumentation, the arrangement, the mixing, and mastering and use it to recreate the song.  Not only will this make you a better producer but you can also rearrange or remix the song into a completely new and different song.  Change up the drums, the chord progression, and swap out the instrumentation.  Then add your own vocals and lyrics and you have an original song that was inspired by another artist’s song.

2. Change up your creative process

If you normally start your songs with the melody then try starting with the drums.  If you normally start with guitar then try starting with a piano or lyrics.  And if you have a problem creating new chord progressions or melodies then try using and altering midi from a midi pack.  You can even switch up the area in which you normally start creating ideas.  Try going outside to a park or a lake to help generate new ideas.  Try recording ideas away from your normal space with your phone or a field recorder.

If you are still having trouble coming up with ideas then try starting with a loop.  There are tons of free loops for tons of instruments out there.  Dig through sample packs and find a loop that inspires you.  Then write a song around it.  Then, when you are finished, you can either keep the loop or remove it and replace it with your own instrumentation.  You can also process and chop up the loops to help make them your own.

3. Work on finishing unfinished ideas

If you’re like me then you have a stockpile of ideas and unfinished songs to take inspiration from.  Folders upon folders of started ideas that either didn’t make the cut or simply didn’t get finished.  Go through some of your unfinished songs and song ideas and try finishing them.  You never know what you may end up with!  I’m personally always trying to generate new ideas and create new songs, but sometimes the best way to move forward and create something new is by going back and finishing something old.

4. Take a break

When all else fails… take a break.  Sometimes your mind just needs some time to rest.  At times, the best thing you can do to overcome writer’s block is to simply not write.  Try doing something else.  Take a little time away from music to enjoy life outside of the studio.  Spend some quality time with family and friends or try something that you’ve always wanted to do.  This downtime and these experiences will help to fuel your creativity and songwriting.

I hope these tips help you to overcome writer’s block and jumpstart your creativity.  Keep in mind that not all of these tips may be for you.  Some producers and songwriters want to be 100% original and don’t want any outside influence to affect their creative process.  Using loops or borrowing arrangement ideas from other artists’ songs may not be right for them.  But always remember that no one is truly 100% original.  We are all a culmination of our influences.  We mix the things that we love to listen to with our taste to create our music.  And in the process we take ideas both consciously and sub-consciously from other artists.  It all comes down to the execution and how you decide to make these ideas your own.

Do you have any tips for overcoming writer’s block?  Feel free to share them in the comments below.

Stay creative, stay encouraged, stay inspired, and stay motivated.

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